Legal Services News

Written on the 3 June 2020 by SAFCA

Consumer Action Law Centre

Seeking input: hardship during Covid-19

Consumer Action Law Centre is launching an online form so people can share their experience of financial hardship due to the Covid-19 emergency. We want to know how severe and widespread the impact has been, so we can ensure government and industry knows too.

Can you help by sharing this form with people who might be experiencing financial difficulties due to the Covid-19 emergency?

We need to demonstrate just how vital Government support and hardship relief measures are for people impacted by this crisis.

Please share this form with anyone affected financially by Covid-19

https://sacoss.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=db2da90cee5c5dddf0895a003&id=c26bb938b5&e=29b434ebc0

Legal Services Commission Keeping Connected

This fortnightly newsletter, produced by Legal Services Commission of South Australia, this week concentrates on support services, and explanation of the legal implications around Family Violence.

Read the newsletter - https://mailchi.mp/4a37609136b0/keeping-connected-useful-legal-resources-4414076

Consumer Action Law Centre New Energy Tech Consumer Code

News from CALC to members of the Stop The Debt Trap Group (SAFCA is a member)

Re: New Energy Tech Consumer Code (NETCC) matter at the Australian Competition Tribunal.  We (CALC) have been granted leave to represent the interests of consumers in the proceeding. I wanted to share an update with you all as signatories to the AFIA BNPL code submission, as this matter refers to the proposed BNPL code and other issues relevant to BNPL.

We continue to take the position that NETCC signatories should not be able to offer unregulated credit and should not be permitted to engage in unsolicited selling. We consider that this will ensure there are a strong public benefits associated with the code. More broadly, we consider that BNPL finance should be regulated under the NCCP Act, in line with other forms of consumer credit.

Flexigroup applied to the Tribunal to amend the ACCC authorised NETCC, arguing that proposed requirements for affordability checks for buy now pay later (BNPL) finance for solar panels and restrictions on unsolicited selling of solar panels with BNPL finance should be removed.

Attached is the public version of our written opening submissions that have been filed. I don't think these are on the ACT website yet but should be soon. They are quite long, but we are really pleased with the evidence and analysis we have been able to pull together.

The evidence we will rely on includes:

  • Affidavits from three solicitors who have run representation files on behalf of vulnerable consumers effectively case studies, demonstrating the effect and harm of the business model of unsolicited selling & unregulated credit for vulnerable consumers
  • An affidavit pulling together consumer complaint data from a number of sources our Consumer Advice Service, regulators and ombudsman. We've also been able to produce complaint data from some of the entities involved. This demonstrates that there are proportionally higher complaints numbers about these entities compared to regulated businesses.
  • The results of a mystery shopping exercise, which helps demonstrate that there can be greater cost for solar installation where BNPL is involved through the practice of price inflation or discounting for cash.

There is also commentary on the weaknesses of AFIA's proposed BNPL industry code from page 66 onwards. Once published on the ACT website, I will also share ASIC's submissions.

A copy of the Submission can be found on the SAFCA website - https://www.safca.org.au/advocacy-matters.html

 


Author: SAFCA

SAFCA

Suite 7 Wellington Centre, 2 Portrush Rd.
Payneham SA 5070