Not wanted at the Gorge
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