Friday 7 July 2006 06 – LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) today released Dealing with Book Up: Key Facts, a short booklet that contains essential information about the ‘book up’ credit system, used widely in Aboriginal communities.
‘NAIDOC week is a great time to launch this new booklet’, Ms Delia Rickard, Deputy Executive Director of Consumer Protection said. ‘We hope it will help many more people to understand and address the problems associated with book up practices.’ ‘‘Book up’, also known as ‘book down’, is informal credit offered by stores and other traders for the purchase of good or services and is widely used by Aboriginal people, especially in regional and remote areas of Australia. A common practice is for a trader to hold the consumer’s bank debit card (or keycard) and sometimes their PIN number as a form of security for the credit’, Ms Rickard said. Some of the more common problems with book up include excessive debt levels for consumers and stores, poor record keeping of transactions, consumers being tied to only one store, extra fees and charges, and confusion and disagreement within families. Dealing with Book Up: Key Facts provides information and tips about: • what book up is and how it works, • what consumers and communities can do about book up problems, • how to protect your PIN number, • how to promote good book up practices by changing the way it is managed and operated, • alternatives to book up, such as internet banking, • who to contact for more help. The booklet also includes a budget planner, sample contract terms for store managers, a community action survey and a fold-out book up map or quick reference guide with solutions to some common problems. ‘This booklet will be useful for anyone dealing with book up issues in Aboriginal communities, including community leaders, financial counsellors or community legal workers, government agencies and private businesses.’ ‘ASIC is grateful to the Australian Bankers’ Association and the WA Department of Consumer and Employment Protection for their financial contributions towards to the costs of producing the booklet’, Ms Rickard said. Page 1 of 2
Visit FIDO, ASIC’s website for consumers and investors for financial tips
and safety checks, www.fido.gov.au
Dealing with Book Up: Key Facts summarises the key information in ASIC’s comprehensive Dealing with Book Up: a Guide. ASIC produces a number of other resources specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers or consumer representatives, including: • Moola Talk, a colourful comic with stories set in remote and regional communities. The stories deal with common financial issues such as car loans, warranties, PIN numbers, credit cards, and dealing with door-to-door salesmen; • Super and Us Mob, a factsheet that explains how superannuation works and some of the key benefits of superannuation for working families. The factsheet tells stories of six people in different employment situations and why their superannuation is important; and • Dealing with Book Up: a Guide, a comprehensive guide for anyone developing responses to book up in Aboriginal communities. It contains lots more information about how to address book up and provides examples of what communities have done to control or eliminate the practice, together with references and contact details. Dealing with Book Up: a Guide was prepared for ASIC by Gordon Renouf and Robynne Quiggin and published by ASIC in December 2005. It was produced with assistance from the NSW Office of Fair Trading, the Queensland Department of Tourism, Fair Trading and Wine Industry Development, the Office of Consumer Affairs (SA) and the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection (WA). These resources, including the new Dealing with Book Up: Key Facts, are available free of charge from ASIC. Copies can be requested by calling ASIC’s Infoline on 1300 300 630 or downloaded from ASIC’s consumer website, FIDO, at www.fido.gov.au. For further information contact: Delia Rickard Deputy Executive Director, Consumer Protection Telephone: 02 6250 3801 Mobile: 0412 673 026 Danielle Huck ASIC Media Unit Telephone: 03 9280 3407 Mobile: 0417 540 769 Page 2 of 2