President’s Message

By Steve King, President of CHERPA

Thank you to all those who attended our recent AGM and seminar.  Now in our Tenth year this was deemed by those who attended as the most congenial gathering we have had together even allowing for the attendance of Rent4Keeps and Mr Rentals as guests who fitted in extremely well.

Our key point of discussion was around the industry based Code of Practice of which Rent4Keeps have been a strong support in bringing together others outside CHERPA to come under one Code and show the Government of the Day that as an industry we can self-Govern thus removing the need for Legislation.

We are taking this Code to meet with the Stephen Jones, the Assistant Treasurer and Federal Finance Minister who, through our Lobbyist, have requested to meet with us in August. We believe that this is our last throw of the dice to get the best deal for the industry that we can negotiate. We have committed to our Lobbyist that we will run with them for six months to start with which with on costs and GST is approximately $12,000.00 a month and any travel costs that Tim and I incur, the rest is free, ( our time and good looks that is). Rent4Keeps have committed funding to support the cause and so again on a prorate basis we will be asking you all to financially support us in this effort. ( If you were all using TaleFin as your Credit provider we would be receiving funds from them which would lessen the burden). We can’t do it all ourselves, we will do the heavy lifting with our time but we need your help to pay for it.

At the seminar we had several excellent presentations even though due to COVID and other circumstances we were down a couple of presenters. Brenda Stagg from AFCA was exceptionally good and asked if she could come back next year and to keep in touch and in her presentation suggested that she really liked the principle of self-Governance by an Industry based Code of Practice and AFCA would support that.

Thanks to all those who travelled to be there with us especially Sam from that other country called Western Australia.

Special thanks to Tim who basically put his life on hold to organise the day and of course to Jeannine who jumped off a plane from Scotland and straight into organising the day.

Thank you to those Board members who have committed to another term and maybe they should be committed for doing so.


Steve King

President of CHERPA

Protecting our Industry, Protecting our Consumers


As most of our members will be aware, the election of the new Labor federal government is a matter of concern for our industry.

For the past eight years, CHERPA’s primary focus has been to lobby and work with government ministers so as to educate federal opinion makers about the reality of our industry, with the intent of creating favourable legislative and regulatory conditions for us all. 

Without exaggeration, it has been a hard slog; legislating the consumer rental industry is a surprisingly contentious issue, with the two major government parties so far holding significantly contrasting views as to how to approach the matter. With the Liberal government we were able to make at least some headway, with draft legislation ultimately reflecting some of our recommendations. We found that our position with respect to the value of our industry and its necessity as a provider of goods to vulnerable consumers, and as a facilitator of genuine financial inclusion, was largely accepted. We may not have agreed upon all matters, but at least we had developed a successful dialogue between us.

Now, unfortunately, it appears we must start all over again, this time with significantly less favourable winds. Although we have previously been fortunate enough to have a number of key discussions with party members who are now ministers, and have made some headway into forging good relationships, there is still an uphill battle to be had.

The main problem here, we believe, is still one of identity – the identity of our industry, who we are, and what we stand for. Regretfully, the ghost of past rogue operators still haunts the perceptions of those with whom we must now deal, and to extend a metaphor, it’s going to be difficult to exorcise.

The Labor Party sees itself as something of the people’s champion – the protector of the interests of everyday working Australians. What they struggle to comprehend is how an industry that ostensibly charges several times the value of the RRP of a given household item over the life of a lease contract can possibly, in fact, also have a consumer’s best interests at heart.

“How is this not exorbitant?” goes the question. “How is it not flagrantly ripping off vulnerable consumers, and lining the pockets of the corrupt?” This might seem like a blunt way to put it, but this is how the Consumer Advocacy industry largely portrays us, and indeed, as it stands they are the ones who have the larger portion of Labor’s ear.

Of course, this is an illusion, one that has unfortunately been bolstered by, as we mentioned, a handful of rogue operators who have succeeded in creating a media circus from time to time, causing havoc for our industry’s PR and requiring significant damage control.

Additionally, the Labor government is likely to presently conflate our industry with SACC lending, which, although shares some outwardly similar characteristics, is actually different in a number of critical respects.

To explain, we quote a brief segment from a recent submission by CHERPA to the former Liberal government regarding the draft industry legislation, including our clear distinction from SACC or PayDay loans:

“The error here is that of the clear ongoing utility provided by consumer leases, in comparison to SACC loans . . . “ (CHERPA Submission to Senate Standing Commitee on Economics, February 2020)

By “ongoing utility” we referred to the fact that a non-fixed-term lease agreement is a kind of service provision, where the consumer does not own the goods, unlike a fixed-term agreement which is treated as a credit contract on the value of the goods (essentially granting the consumer ownership from the time they receive it).

This being the case, the critical difference here is one of risk ownership, and ultimate responsibility for the goods. In the case of non-fixed term agreements, the lease company remains the risk owner, and shoulders ongoing responsibilities including servicing and repairing the goods, and even replacing where necessary (in the case of goods failure that is not the fault of the consumer). Moreover, as we all well know, there is significant risk ownership to be had in an industry-wide sense due to the proportion of clients that simply cease to pay, without returning the goods, and with few, if any, viable enforcement methods available. The reality of the industry is, with this kind of risk profile, the costs associated with non-fixed-term lease agreements are not only justified, they are essential for the industry’s survival.

Moreover, the industry also remains an essential service in many cases and for the majority of our clients, as the absence of service provision by our industry would lead tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of vulnerable Australian consumers down the path of financial exclusion, denying them access to the most basic of household goods – refrigerators, washing machines, and more.

This is a far cry from the notion that domestic rental companies are simply lining their pockets with customer money collected from excessive fees and charges. Nor are the majority of our members large corporate entities without a connection to the consumers whom we serve. It is this change in paradigm that is our challenge when presenting the true state of the industry to the government, though it’s a challenge we gladly take upon ourselves.

As we have repeatedly demonstrated, the consumer advocacy industry’s alternative plan of supplanting lease agreements with NILS (no-interest loans) to the majority of these vulnerable consumers is mathematically futile, with many billions of dollars of government funds required to make such a plan feasible. Under the current budgetary circumstances, and indeed under most federal budgets, this plan could not be considered realistic. Surely in that case, the only answer is provision by private commerce, as per our current industry.

What needs to be understood is that vulnerable consumers must walk a narrow path in order to be kept financially safe. It is not merely the threat of financial exploitation on the one side, but the very real risk of financial exclusion on the other. It is like driving on a winding mountain pass – you could go off the edge, but you could also run into the mountain. The only clear way is down the middle.

For our industry to remain viable, we will need to lobby hard to make our position heard. Specifically, we must avoid the threat of consumer lease agreements being lumped in with the legislative provisions of SACC lending. We must create genuine relationships with the new government ministers so as to be appropriately heard. We must have the opportunity to reverse the vilification of our industry, which we have suffered for years at the hands of ignorant and frankly vindictive false advocates. 

Through successful self-governance and the incorporation of an industry-wide Code of Practice, CHERPA hopes to distance our industry from the stain brought upon us by a handful of rogue operators, and continue to improve conditions for the industry generally.

We look forward to your ongoing support, are confident that with the necessary resources and correct approach, plus a healthy dose of persistence, we can bring about the changes needed to protect not only our industry but also the consumers who rely upon us.


President’s Message

By Steve King, President of CHERPA

Well, the federal election has passed, and I won’t say we didn’t see this coming.

Welcome to the New World.

Now more than ever, we believe it is important to illustrate to the Federal Government and consumer advocates our capacity to self-govern under the auspices of our new industry-based Code of Practice, which we emphasise is a living document that we are always looking to improve.

We will discuss this in depth at our upcoming AGM and look for further support from those in the industry outside of CHERPA to keep us in the game.

At this stage, we have had numerous discussions with Rent4Keeps and some other smaller players who have agreed to come under this industry-based Code of Practice (along with some others who we feel are close to committing as well), which we hope will make it more palatable for the new government to accept.

Under the present circumstances, we feel the need to restart lobbying the government and build upon the relationships we already have in place with some Labour members with whom Tim and I have met previously. With your consent and further funding, that process will start very soon.

Also, I believe we all need to consider the use of TaleFin as our preferred credit reporting bureau, which will grant us better real-time reporting data leading to more informed decisions, and which will even help with our lobbying costs through providing rebates back to CHERPA.

As most of you already know, our AGM will be held in Melbourne on the 8th July. We have secured the Novotel on Collins, with full details attached in the newsletter. Once we have confirmed our guest speakers, we will provide you with further updates.

Remember this quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“That which we persist on doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the task has changed , but our ability to do has increased.”

I look forward to catching up with as many of you as possible at the AGM.


Steve King

President of CHERPA

Ownership Transfer

Small Print, Heavy Consequences

By Ronen Atzmon, Solicitor

Introductory Note from Steve King, President of CHERPA:

This article details some public legal proceedings against industry members which originated from alleged breaches in 2020 or earlier. Since then, I wish to note that we have strengthened relations in particular with Rent4Keeps and have hopes of ongoing friendly cooperation between us. We nevertheless warn all industry members to take Ronen’s article seriously as any improper industry activities, or even allegations of improper activities, are unlikely to go unnoticed by ASIC. 

Please read on.

Summary: The terms of your consumer lease agreements matter – violations of the National Credit Code can happen easily and land your company in hot water. Recent legal proceedings remind us that ASIC is monitoring the industry closely. Get advice if you are uncertain of what to do.

As you no doubt have heard, ASIC commenced proceedings against Rent4Keeps and Darranda (a credit licensee owned by the owners of the Rent4Keeps), and against Layaway Depot (Proceeding). 

The nature of the Proceedings are different and the documents to the Proceedings can be found by conducting a Google search.

The Proceeding against Layaway Depot is a reminder that credit activities must not be conducted unless the operator holds a credit licence or is authorised as a credit representative of a credit licensee. Layaway Depot conducted a payment by instalment facility and because the total price paid under the agreement exceeded the cash retail price, they required a credit licence which they did not hold.

The Proceeding against Rent4Keeps is more complex and involved the transfer of ownership of the leased goods. More specifically to the Proceeding, CHERPA members will note from ASIC’s statement of claim that there are a number of alleged defects in the Rent4Keeps and Darranda contracts. 

Firstly, there is an apparent inconsistency between the gifting provisions which are subject to the lessor’s discretion (5.1) and other provisions in the credit contract (5.2) which state that if the lessee complies with the contract, the ownership is transferred automatically.

Secondly, ASIC intends to demonstrate that Rent4Keeps and Darranda never had an intention to implement the gifting program and that the gifting provisions are a sham to hide the fact that the lessee will own the goods at the end of the lease term and that the lessor always intended for the lessee to own the goods.

If the prosecution is successful then Section 169 of the National Credit Code has been breached, and if that is the case then by virtue of Section 9 of the National Credit Code, the consumer lease will be classified as a sale of goods by instalment credit contract to which the National Credit Code provisions, other than Part 11 Consumer Leases, apply to.

In most cases, when a consumer lease is reclassified as a sale of goods by instalment, there are bound to be Code violations such as failure to disclose retail cash price of the goods, failing to adhere to the 48% interest rate cap and misleading information in relation to ownership, as under a sale of goods by instalments (as a credit contract) the ownership to the goods passes to the consumer on entering into the contract (see Section (3)(d) of the Code).

This Proceeding reminds us all that ASIC is watching and monitoring the industry and will take enforcement action when it comes to consumer protection. Whilst ASIC is the regulator under the NCCP Act, ASIC champions itself as a consumer protector and hence, when there is a perceived harm to consumers, ASIC will take action.

It is also a reminder to CHERPA members to ensure that the transfer of ownership provisions in their consumer lease are clear and not ambiguous. Please seek legal advice if for any reason you are uncertain of what to do.

If any CHERPA member requires consultation, I will gladly provide them with assistance.

Ronen Atzmon, Solicitor

CHERPA is back with support for defence personnel.

As some of our members are aware, CHERPA once offered a service to Defence personnel through Defence Housing Australia (DHA) allowing them to rent household goods when they were being re-posted to a new area.

CHERPA offered this complimentary service to all its members. As applications came in, CHERPA would sign them up to a rental agreement, then redirect the enquiry to a CHERPA member participating in the program to supply the items, fulfil the rental requirements and be the managing agent for any future service required.

The original DHA agreement ran its course and was concluded in late 2020 however, we are pleased to announce that the service is being revamped and we will soon be re-launching as CHERPA’s “Better Living for Defence” service.

CHERPA is re-launching Better Living for Defence.

Again there is no cost for any CHERPA member wanting to participate in the “Better Living for Defence” program. CHERPA is offering this service, to support Australia’s Defence personnel and potentially increase our members customer rate.

To participate in this program, please email or you can ring Tim on 0418 553 093 with any questions.

If you would like a bit more information and an indication previous pricing structure, please go to the DHA page on CHERPA’s website outlining the previous program, or click below.

As with the old service, the general terms for the new “Better Living for Defence” program include:

  • No fixed term (That’s because they can be posted anywhere from for 3 months to 3 years).
  • No early termination fees.
  • Rental payments will be managed by CHERPA then redistributed to the managing agents on a month to month basis, less a small commission.
  • Free delivery.
  • Free pick up if item is no longer required.
  • Buy options available at any time.