On Monday 14 May 2018, Housing for the Aged Action Group (HAAG), Consumer Action Law Centre, Residents of Retirement Villages Victoria (RRVV) and Council on the Ageing (COTA) held a forum on how to make a formal complaint to regulators about a retirement housing issue. Approximately 60 retirement housing residents attended and expressed frustration at the current complaints handling framework, and the treatment they had received from operators.
Residents openly shared their experiences and concerns. Their stories conveyed a lack of respect, bullying, no effective dispute resolution, excessive fees and poor management practices. Their experiences were told with passion and great clarity.
Consumer Affairs Victoria explained the referral process to the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria for disputes between residents, managers and operators. Consumer Action Law Centre presented information on how to ensure complaints are more effective. The forum also highlighted ways of sharing complaints with politicians and media – especially important in an election year, as you can make your local members and ministers aware of systematic issues facing their older constituents. The key message was to be concise about your experience and tell them what you want to be done!
Consumer Action, HAAG, RRVV and COTA Victoria continue to strongly support reform in the retirement housing sector, including the establishment of a specialist retirement housing ombudsman to resolve disputes between retirement housing operators and residents. An ombudsman would provide free, fair and effective dispute resolution services, and possess the power to make binding resolutions. You can find out more about this campaign in the Retirement Housing Matters advocacy pack.
Below are resources that can help you to make your complaint count:
Consumer Action’s template letter for complaining about defective goods and services
We will also be posting a report from this workshop soon. Please let us know if you have questions or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org