Not wanted at the Gorge

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Madi­son Wil­liams

THE Moss­man Gorge Com­mu­nity might not be far be­hind Wu­jal Wu­jal, the na­tion’s first town to erect a “do-not-knock” sign, to warn off ex­ploita­tive door-to-door traders.

Sim­i­lar to Wu­jal Wu­jal the Moss­man Gorge Com­mu­nity has been plagued by “un­con­scionable” rent-to-buy sales­peo­ple that have been rip­ping off res­i­dents for years.

Ba­manga Bubu Ngadimunku inc (BBN), the as­so­ci­a­tion that ad­vo­cates for the Moss­man Gorge Com­mu­nity, has said they are con­sid­er­ing fol­low­ing in the foot steps of Wu­jal Wu­jal to make it il­le­gal for sales­peo­ple to has­sle the com­mu­nity mem­bers.

Many doors in the com­mu­nity are al­ready dec­o­rated with “no door-to-door traders” stick­ers thanks largely to the Port Dou­glas Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre No In­ter­est Loans Scheme (NILS).

But that doesn’t stop the sales­peo­ple from en­ter­ing the town. Me­gan Black­low, NILS co-or­di­na­tor, said she’s seen her clients lose thou­sands in the scam. “It was a mas­sive prob­lem, some peo­ple thought [the sales­per­son] was their friend,” she said. “For ex­am­ple I would talk to some­one with $180 com­ing out of their ac­count each fort­night.

“I would ask them how long their con­tract was and they would say two years.

“I’d add it up and then say ‘OK, so what did you get for $9,360’?

“And they would an­swer in shock, ‘a TV, a sur­round sound sys­tem and an Xbox’. It re­ally hit home.

“Ba­si­cally they’re all frauds – any­one who knocks on your door, just say no to them.”

Many res­i­dents have be­gun to wisen up to the scam.

The com­mu­nity has posters on what to say to door knock­ers and in­ter­gen­er­a­tional ed­u­ca­tion has be­come another weapon in the fight.

“There’s been a lot of ed­u­ca­tion around door-to-door traders,” said Ms Black­low.

“If mum’s been scammed she’ll tell her daugh­ter. What NILS pro­vides is the op­tion for safe, sound and fi­nan­cially ed­u­cated de­ci­sions.

“Un­for­tu­nately the sales­peo­ple are still hang­ing around. What they’ve done in Wu­jal Wu­jal is amaz­ing, they have led the way for ev­ery Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity to have a sign.”

Me­gan Black­low has been help­ing peo­ple with no in­ter­est loans for years SHANE NI­CHOLS

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