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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has backed a national call from a community coalition to better regulate buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) and payday lending schemes, citing the case of a Hobart man who ended up paying ten times over for a bed.

“So many people end up in serious financial strife through these schemes,” Mr Wilkie said. “Those who peddle them prey on the most vulnerable members of society, many of whom have ended up with less money and more debt due, in part, to hardship caused by the pandemic.

“My office recently assisted a disability pensioner who bought a $2,500 bed on a 12-month interest-free loan arrangement 10 years ago and ended up paying about ten times that amount. When he approached our office in desperation a few months ago, he still owed more than he had initially borrowed at an interest rate of 24.5 per cent. Thankfully, his case has been resolved with help from the National Debt Helpline. I shudder to think how many other people are out there in a similar situation.

“Back in 2020, I introduced the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2020 to provide better protections for consumers from dodgy payday lenders and rent-to-buy schemes. It was a replica of the Government’s own Exposure Draft of 2017, which was abandoned after pressure from the payday lending industry. The upshot is that consumers remain exposed to unscrupulous and poorly regulated lending practices. It’s beyond time these schemes were treated like other credit products and regulated accordingly.”