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Choice, control and consumer rights – here’s what you need to know!

Consumer rights are universal, and Mable is the perfect online marketplace for you to exercise them.

Every consumer has rights – the right to ask questions, to say no, to choose, to negotiate, to speak up or to buy again. Whether you’re buying an off the shelf product like assistive technology or negotiating a very personal service from a support worker, you should be able to participate in discussions about what, who and when.

We believe that online marketplace models like Mable create the perfect venue to facilitate these discussions and enable people to fully exercise their rights as consumers.

Often, the argument for greater regulation is that it protects consumer rights. But what if that comes at the expense of consumer choice and control? And who is to say that greater regulations and stricter controls ensure a better experience? Complaints to the NSW Ombudsman about disability services are the highest they’ve been in a decade, up 42% on last year, including a 31% jump in complaints about disability accommodation providers, which are operated, funded or licensed by the Department of Family and Community Services. Online marketplaces empower people to take charge of their own care and support needs, and provide the ability to deal directly with the person who will be providing the service. It allows a support recipient to truly become a consumer, with all the rights that come along with it.

So what are those rights?

The right to shop smart

Bringing a support worker into your home and your life is potentially a long-term decision. And finding the right supports is about the fit. Will the worker get on with you? With your family? Do they share the same love of dogs, heavy metal or arthouse movies? Using a platform like Mable, it’s easy for clients to do their research, searching by the criteria most important to them. It’s also possible to read client reviews and approach a number of potential workers. Clients are encouraged to ask lots of questions and they reserve the right to say no if they don’t want the goods or services offered.

Clients have the right to take their time and ask for what they want. They even have control over the price, which can be negotiated with the worker. Clients also have the right to speak up if they’re not happy. The contract is between client and worker so Mable encourages dialogue between the two, but offers phone support if necessary.

The right to a more accessible contract

An online marketplace is designed to be simple on the surface but can sometimes be concealing an insurmountable set of terms and conditions. In early 2017, it took an actor nine hours to read the complete Amazon Kindle terms and conditions, which run to 73,198 words. Luckily, Mable’s paperwork amounts to Terms of Use (a more manageable 9,495 words), a Code of Conduct (1,683 words) and a simple agreement between client and worker whenever the two have agreed to a job. It’s also important for consumers to keep track of all their paperwork. Luckily, the platform does this for you too, by keeping a record of all sessions, agreements, timesheets and invoices paid. There is also a record of all communication between client and worker.

The right to safety

The number one question we are asked by NDIS participants and their families is, “What about my safety? Where do I go if something goes wrong?” Safety is taken very seriously in the Mable community and all independent workers undergo a very strict onboarding process, one of the most stringent in the sector. This includes reference and qualification checks, police checks, and verification of any specific requirements for nurses and those providing personal care. Insurance is arranged by Mable on behalf of independent workers for work delivered and paid for through the platform. This spans Professional Indemnity, Public Liability and Group Personal Accident insurance.

The right to support

Just because you’re booking online, doesn’t mean you’re on your own. Our support team is on hand to step in when needed to offer advice or support with using the platform. Although Mable is an online marketplace, it’s also powered by a team of real people. We are based in a physical office in Sydney, and everyone’s available at the end of a phone.

Your right to change your mind

For jobs booked through the Mable platform, clients have the right to change their minds and cancel or reschedule. As with any purchase of goods or services, choosing a worker from the Mable platform comes with a “consumer guarantee”, meaning that if a client encounters a problem, they have the right to ask the business (the worker) to fix it. An example would be refusing to approve an invoice because the client is not happy with the care delivered. As the client, you can also terminate the contract at any time and you aren’t locked into a relationship with any one contractor.

At its core, the Mable platform is a simple tool designed to facilitate the relationship between you and your chosen workers. Because you have the power to choose, the onus is on your worker to provide an exceptional service and encourage repeat business. If you have any questions about your rights as a consumer and use of the Mable platform, get in touch with our team today.

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