Radio Rentals hugely benefits from people on welfare 450



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Radio Rentals is a handy option for those who cannot afford to buy appliances outright but is it a system that is being exploited by those on welfare?

According to the ABC, almost half of Radio Rentals’ revenue last financial year came from Centrelink payments – $90 million to be exact. The money comes from the Department of Human Services’ direct debit Centrepay system, though it is a system typically used to help welfare recipients budget money for food and necessities. So is it fair that these people are using tax payers’ money to purchase white goods?

The Radio Rentals ad is a familiar one – you know it from its catchy jingle and promise to give everyone a fair go. ABC reports that they found out that Centrelink customers can sign up to lease household goods, smart phones and flat screen TVs, and it is just taken out of their payment. Should this be banned?

Years ago, people were up in arms about the baby bonus and how a lump sum payment was too tempting for some new mothers, who spent the money on things they wanted, instead of things they needed for their baby. It was later changed to a fortnightly payment.

In the ABC report, consumer affairs reporter Josie Taylor spoke to CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre, Gerard Brody. He said, “I really question the ethics of a business model that relies on welfare payments in this way. Welfare payments are designed to assist people have a basic standard of living, rent, food, utilities, not much more than that to be honest and this business is charging high cost credit arrangements. Often the costs are three to five times the value of the goods that are being rented over a period of a couple of years”.

Is this another disappointing loophole in the system? There are probably a lot of people of welfare who are renting a fridge or washing machine and have a legitimate need for this product. But what is sad is that they can end up paying three times what the product is worth by the end of the term – so is it really that good of a deal overall?


We want to know what you think today: should Centrelink payments be used to pay for appliances, white goods and electronics? Or should it be for necessities? Have you ever rented from Radio Rentals or a similar business? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. It is a scandal when people who work can hardly afford these white goods but their taxes are giving these people on welfare a free ride

    9 REPLY
    • I hope you learn this lesson the gard way, my dear. If you haven’t been put in a bad way yourself stay out of it.

    • People on welfare payments do not have the money to pay upfront for essential household whiteware, that is why they pay smaller weekly installments to rent these items from companies like Radio Rentals. Yes, they do pay a lot extra in the long run, and that is how the rental system works. I think people should try living on a Welfare payment before trying to tell all and sundry that recipients have money to splash around, or be having ‘a free ride’.

      2 REPLY
    • what a load of rubbish, why shouldn’t people on welfare be entitled to have fridges washing machines etc. I can assure you that if a major appliance breaks down its a major tragedy and renting is often the only option to getting another one.People who work should have the ability to save for what they want and get it cheaper. this article is about people being ripped off, the people who can least afford it, not about if they are entitled to have basic stuff like fridges etc

    • Thomas are you for real. Come down from your Ivory tower. Give thanks you have a job, and think of these people, because for all of us! There by the Grace of God go I. Please think of those who are lest fortunate than you! And show some empathy.

  2. I have tried to teach my kids that you pay way too much for something through schemes like radio rentals. One has learned the hard way.

    2 REPLY
    • If their appliance breaks down how are they suppose to buy another? I don’t know many pensioners with enough money in the bank to pay for these things.

    • I know, but rent buy is terrible. My son did it and it cost him nearly three times the amount the appliance was worth in the end. I have done it many years ago and that’s what taught me a lesson. I went to second hand shops after that and lay buys.

  3. I have no problem with people spending money on fridges and washing machines and smartphones seem to become a necessity as well because even Centrelink wants you to deal with them over the Internet! What is very bad is the high cost involved when dealing with radio rentals!

    1 REPLY
    • Sorry but no one needs a smartphone. You can deal with people over the internet from the library if necessary. I have a $69 unlocked Nokia and pay $20 per month for $550 worth of calls and texts. I also have home and contents, car and health insurance. It’s hard at times but I manage. Aren’t the smartphones about $900, even if only $500 a bit expensive for someone who has to rent an appliance. It’s a bit like leasing a Ferrari on Workcover. Ridiculous.Perhaps I am offending people but some of our unfortunate and unemployed members who rely on Centrelink seriously need some idea about budgeting.

  4. Whats the difference. They spend it on tattoos, alcohol, cigarettes drugs and junky old cars that cost a fortune to run . It is the bogan mentality . It wont change un til payments are scrapped and food and rent stamps issued.

    1 REPLY
  5. Unfortunately people on Centrelink payments cannot afford outright to purchase a washing machine, microwave, tv, so they rent from Radio rentals. If it wasn’t for organizations like this they would be washing by hand and their children wouldn’t watch TV. I think the ABC have it wrong!! Benefits don’t pay for luxuries let alone necessities! !

    12 REPLY
    • Susan get you head out of the sand, people spend their money however they please! You may spend your money wisely but not all do!

    • Yes I agree .Their broken down goods need to be replaced and they go where they can get the credit… unfortunately they also get the highest charges … pay the most,which they can ill afford and no sooner pay it off and it breaks down …. So the merry-go-round never lets them catch up. I feel very fortunate to be just above that line .. but I can remember using Radio Rentals.

    • Yes diane not everybody on benefits are no hopers a lot are doing it until they can get a job or are on them because they have a disability or are on a permanent pension a little bit of compassion and understanding would be good here i know there are sone that abuse the situation but a majority are descent people. I myself have used rental goods sometime its easier to rent than buy especially when it comes to having them repaired or replaced and a lot of armed forces and companies use it for furnishing their company apartments an such

    • You can get a loan from Centrelibnk also stores such as The Good Guys have excellent plans in place where you pay no interest.

    • you can’t get a loan from anyone Marilyn Clark if you are on Newstart and don’t own your own home, you can tell some of these people don’t know what struggling is

    • I’m lucky? on old age pension, worked all my life even as a parent. Owned a business and paid the tax man heaps!!. I volunteer at a foundation in the Illawarra that help up people on disability, single parent pensions, Old age pensioners and mentally Challenged. Iv had my head out of the sand for years? I feel soŕry for people on Goverment assistance? There are lots of our clients looking for work and feell very depressed. Only will the measly amount the Goverment pay, how they exist and most of our clients, don’t drink alcohol, smoke, drugs and battle to survive after rent, electricity, gas etc. So companies renting or loan companies helps keep their heads above water. I wouldn’t like to sit in the dark with no tv.I’m lucky and don’t feel under priveledged and like my retirement that i deserve and worked hard all my life for !!

    • Most people are honest but I have met a few rorters like, I used to do tenpin bowling and there was a woman there who, when the Government gave a lump sum to children, bought a mobile phone and a bowling ball. Found out later she sold her son’s Ritolin (ADD medication) to drug addicts. I knew someone else who had Foxtel and the latest mobile phone. There are a lot of rorters!!!

  6. Look around your house and imagine just how hard it would be if you didn’t own a fridge or a washing machine for example. While I have never had to use a company like radio rentals, I also have enough empathy for those who are forced to resort to paying high repayments , usually out of sheer desperation. Don’t be to quick to judge those on welfare

    4 REPLY
    • Do you own a fridge Babs? Or in this day and age where you are expected to have an email account so a computer is now a necessity and not a luxury! If you don’t have an email, you are charged for a paper bill in the mail.

  7. That is the most sanctimonious nonsense I have ever read! Because they’re poor, welfare recipients are not entitled to a fridge or washing machine? The writer is correct that they end up paying much more than they would by purchasing such items but with a cheaper initial outlay it is often the only way they can afford to have them. Let’s remember we’re talking white goods, not smartphones or 3D TVs. Let’s knock these people for wanting to store their food and clean their clothes!

    4 REPLY
    • Thank you Kim. I am so tired of the “let’s attack the welfare recipient” mentality that has gripped this country. I am a disability pensioner and I am lucky enough to own my washing machine and fridge but if they broke down and were unable to be repaired guess where I would have to turn? I can’t afford the outlay for a new one. I am glad to see there are people like you who can see through the rubbish and propaganda in this article.

      1 REPLY
      • Kim and Caryn, you are both right. Some of the comments in this thread have disgusted me. As for Thomas Bakacs – whose taxes are giving welfare recipients a free ride? I paid taxes (most of them high) for 50 years and I am entitled to the small amount I get from Centrelink.

    • I don’t think that is what most are saying, of course they must have these items, there just has to be a betterway than the current system. At the very least the government should not be involved, payments should come from recipient bank accounts not the Government.

    • Marilyn the payments are NOT coming from the government! All that is happening is the payment that would normally be paid from the bank account of the person renting the appliance is made by Centrelink and deducted from their payment before it goes in their bank. With a fortnightly repayment of let’s say $30 to RR, then instead of getting $600 a fortnight from Centrelink they get $570 as the payment has been made already. This works well as RR know they will get their money and therefore feel safe renting to a welfare recipient and the person renting does not have to pay additional bank fees for a payment going out of their account.

    • Has anyone said that though? I think we all understand the need for fridges, washing machine and TV that work. They are not luxuries they are essential. I think, most people think it’s a damn shame that some people have to pay so much to rent them and that sometimes it isn’t possible to buy them outright. I personally have a problem with people having the latest phones but maybe that is only me!!!

  8. That’s discrimination, it’s the Government that slap these luxury taxes on goods. It’s not easy being a female we have to pay luxury tax on items such as Pads or Tampons etc etc, can anyone tell me why having periods is a luxury.

    5 REPLY
    • Hi Judy, I am on a disability pension as I had a brain tumor removed 2 and a half years ago, that wasn’t in my future plans nor was the fact that my grand daughter being confirmed of having terminal cancer in the month prior to finding out that I had the tumor, just too much stress placed on my family and we all have had to struggle with everything since then, but the light at the end of the tunnel is now shining bright, my grand daughter has now after 3 years of kemo and nearly loosing her life a couple of times is all clear, loads of continued checking for many more years but God willing all will be good for her, I have told her to open her wings and fly, cause now at the tender age of 11 she needs to soar. I am ok now, it’s taken me all this time of looking after my health to start firing on all cylinders again. Oh by the way yes there is luxury tax slapped on disposible nappies :{

    • Glad to hear Silke that things are looking up for your family. May you all have a healthy future ahead of you all. Interested about the luxury taxon disposable nappies. I considered them a luxury when I had my 4 children. Couldn’t afford them even if I had wanted to use them. I survived washing all those nappies,and didn’t find them a hardship! So if mothers want to use them maybe they have to be prepared to pay the tax!

    • Thank you Molly, I live in the moment these days, I stand up and take it on the chin these days, come what may I will move forward and so will my family. I had two children and I used to use cloth nappies as well, once they were both toilet trained I could use the nappies for cleaning cloths, bonus, today is a throw away society and the government know it that’s why we pay dearly with these taxes for so called luxury items, my money isn’t anywhere near what the fat cats earn but least I get on with life.

    • If the so called refugees weren’t getting almost what the Aussies get and they get it instead , they would be able to get a few things,as most live below the poverty line.

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