In June 2017 Rupert came to our Goodna advice bureau after a referral from a community legal centre. Rupert was distressed and struggled with English having only migrated to Australia from a war torn country a few years prior. Rupert explained that after arriving in Australia he wished to purchase a home for his family so they could build a new life and feel safe.
Rupert worked multiple jobs and saved all that he could and finally purchased a home. Rupert wanted to do some minor works to the home to make his wife comfortable. He again saved all that he could to enable him to undertake the works.
Rupert engaged a builder to do some works on the house and paid the builder over $8,000 which to Rupert was a significant amount of money. To his despair the builder did not adhere to the Contract. Rupert had tried to engage with other solicitors however had great difficulty doing so given the language barriers and limited access to interpreting services. Rupert came from humble beginnings and valued every cent he worked for – it pained him to know he was being taken advantage of.
When Rupert arrived at our office, he tried as best as he could to explain what had happened. However, because our solicitors had some familiarity with these types of matters, our solicitor was able to work out fairly quickly what needed to be done to help Rupert.
After receiving our advice, Rupert made contact with the relevant building authority and commenced an action for small claims in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). Rupert returned to our advice bureaus several times during the QCAT process. At the Advice Bureaus we would review his documents, provide feedback and give advice about the next steps he was to take. The Advice Bureau process empowered Rupert to prepare his own documents and take control of his matter. However, the process ensured that Rupert had the peace of mind knowing that the Salvos Legal Humanitarian team were in his corner. In a follow up phone conversation with Rupert, he said to me, “With your help I was able to carefully present my case to QCAT. I am so grateful. Every time I call, you are there.”
Rupert was impressed with the process and with the fact that, even if he engaged with a different advisor at each Bureau, there was no requirement to repeat his story. An advisor being prepared by reading his case file prior to the Advice Bureau was key in supporting Rupert and adding value to his matter each visit. Rupert has exclaimed, “I was totally helpless before I knew of Salvos Legal. I want to share my story so that others can know about Salvos Legal and they won’t be left feeling helpless.”
Rupert’s matter was heard at the Tribunal earlier this year and had a positive result. Rupert is now in a position to continue to build a life for his family in Australia.