Once you have found your accommodation, try and give as much notice as possible before checking out of your temporary accommodation. If there are two or three of you moving together call one of the taxi companies and ask for a station wagon to transport your luggage. The price is the same as for normal sedans. Otherwise ask for a Maxi taxi, Melbourne taxis are numerous and easy to spot – they are all uniformly yellow. Also, drivers must always wear a neat uniform and have an identity card on show at all times.
Ready to move in?
Hailing a cab
Cabs often wait in designated ranks that are clearly signposted at central locations like major hotels in the CBD, or busy spots such as Flinders Street Station. You can also hail a taxi in the street – if the rooftop light is illuminated, it means the taxi is available for hire – or book a taxi by telephone. Outside Melbourne, taxis widely operate in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, with additional cabs at country towns throughout the rest of the state.
Melbourne has launched a number of ‘taxi totems’ around the city and in some regional centres, which will be lit and will make it easier to hail cabs and for cabs to notice you. The totems will feature your location name and the nearest cross street, a list of local taxi services and booking numbers including numbers for wheelchair accessible taxis and connections to train, tram and bus services where relevant.
Fares and surcharges
In general, taxi meters are clearly visible so you can keep check of your fare. Melbourne cabs also attract additional charges like a late night surcharge from midnight to 5 am, a fee for phone bookings, a fee for using the Citylink freeway and even a fee for taxis waiting at the airport rank.
Melbourne’s major taxi companies include:
• 13 CABS
• Silver Top Taxis
Switching on – Electricity
Look up as many different companies as you can for Electricity and/or gas to make sure you are getting the best price and not paying too much.
Firstly, check if the electricity is connected at your new premises. Then apply over the telephone. You will need to give some identification such as your passport number. The power will still be connected if the previous tenants have moved less than two weeks before. Your account will start from the date of supply.
If the power is not connected a visual safety inspection will have to be carried out.
You will have to specify a period when you will be available to allow the safety inspector access to the premises. After the initial invoice you will receive an electricity bill every three months. When you cease to be a customer of any company, your security deposit will be credited on your final account. Two full working days’ notice must be given for a final meter reading.
If the premises you want to move into was vacated less than two weeks before, it is more than likely the gas will still be connected. You can apply by phone. You will need some form of identification. Bills arrive every quarter. When you are ready to vacate the premises, give as much notice as possible, to arrange transfer or refund of security deposit.
Buying a mobile phone usually involves paying for the phone, a connection fee, a monthly access fee and the actual time spent on calls. Many students find the pre-paid plan a cheaper alternative to signing a 12-month contract. It is in your best interest to check out prices and options at a customer service centre before deciding what the best mobile phone service for yourself is.
Each company offers a variety of ‘plans’ that are specially made to suit a particular type of user, i.e. someone who uses it for ALL their calls or someone who just wants it for emergencies. So ask yourself: – Do I really need one? Can I afford a plan over 12 – 15 months (or whatever the contract is offering)? …How often will I be using it? As a rule the cheaper the monthly access fee, the higher the rate per 30 seconds. Flat rates are available from some companies. The main mobile phone companies are Optus, Telstra, Vodafone, 3G. Be sure to check out prices and options and ‘Beware’ that there is usually a penalty or payout figure if you break your contract. Make sure that you understand the legal implications of your contract before signing.
Supermarkets like Coles, Woolworths, IGA or Aldi are the most popular food shops where you will find fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen foods, canned goods, meat, bread, laundry and cleaning supplies, personal needs and non-prescription drugs. Other shops such as K-Mart, Target, and Best and Less are known for inexpensive clothing and household items. Myers and David Jones tend to be more expensive. Asian and Islander grocery shops can be found around Chinatown takeaways/ restaurants.
Should a business give you a refund?
• It is faulty or damaged: The article is broken or will not work.
• It is unfit for the purpose: This means the item will not do what it is supposed to do.
• It does not agree with the description: e.g. Leather upper and vinyl sole is not an all leather shoe.
• It does not comply with the sample you were shown: What you were given was different from the one on display.
• You changed your mind after you purchased the item.
• You found it cheaper elsewhere.
• You decided it was too expensive.
• You knew about that particular fault prior to purchase.
• You were responsible for causing the fault.
Before buying you should:
• Think about what you want the product to do
• Shop around for the best deal.
• Compare quality and price.
• Ask for advice.
• Inspect goods carefully.
If things go wrong:
• Be sure you didn’t cause the fault.
• Stop using the faulty goods
• Give details of the fault and what you would like the trader to do about it.
• If there is a dispute ask to speak to someone in charge.
• Often you can settle things there and then.
• Explain the problem clearly and calmly.
• If you leave the goods with the store, make sure you get a receipt.
• If you cannot see someone in authority, write a letter instead.
• When returning goods, take proof of purchase with you – e.g. a receipt or credit card slip.
• Let the seller know as soon as possible & return the faulty goods or write to the seller as soon as possible.
As it becomes harder to find rental accommodation that is fully furnished, you are left with the options of buying new, used or second hand or renting the furniture & appliances you need. As unfurnished accommodation usually does not include a refrigerator and washing machine, it is up to you to prioritise the items of furniture you need the most to be comfortable. If you are in shared accommodation – who will pay and how much?
New Furniture / Appliances
If you require new furniture and appliances, IKEA, K-Mart, A-Mart and Target stores are to be found in most of the larger shopping centres. These stores are reasonably priced. A list of locations can be found in the telephone directory.
One way of buying used furniture is to go on Gumtree or eBay. Items sold privately are normally cheaper and you can bargain (within reason) with the seller. It is normal practice to call the seller, ask questions about the item and get their address so you can inspect before buying. The biggest drawback is the time taken to travel to private homes to inspect the items.
Other alternatives to private sellers are second-hand shops.
Some offer 10% discounts to students and has a wide variety of goods available. They are also willing to buy back the same items from you when you have finished your studies. Check with other shops about this when you purchase your furniture. A popular pawn shop called Cash Converters has TVs, VCR, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. Any electrical item bought from these shops normally comes with a one month warranty (guarantee) at the time of purchase. Make sure you ask about their warranty or refund policy.
There are other second-hand shops that only deal in white goods, such as refrigerators or washing machines. While their goods may come with a one month warranty period it is often possible to pay extra for a longer warranty period.
Australian Institute of Language (AIL) is a Registered Training Organization (RTO: 41424), situated in the heart of Melbourne CBD. AIL offers a broad range of innovate courses from Diploma to Advanced Diploma level in Interpreting, Translating, Leadership and Management. We are also one of the official Computer-delivered IELTS test centres.