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Friday 1 May 2015

15-093MR Rental company found to have breached consumer credit laws

The Federal Court has found white goods and computer rental company Make It Mine Pty Ltd breached consumer credit laws, including its responsible lending obligations.

The decision in the Federal Court in Melbourne follows ASIC launching civil action against the company in November 2014 (refer: 14-316MR) and Make it Mine voluntarily issuing its own proceedings before the Court.

The company admitted to the misconduct and most of the key issues in the proceedings were undisputed.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, ‘It’s particularly important that firms offering credit to low income consumers comply with responsible lending obligations. ASIC will continue to take action where we see vulnerable consumers at risk of inappropriate lending.’

The Court found the company, which sold electronic devices and white goods via instalment payments to people who receive government benefits, failed to disclose important information to thousands of customers, and operated without a credit licence for nine months.

In particular, more than 24,000 customers between July 2010 and March 2013 were not told about the amount of interest being charged as well as the cash price, or market value, of the goods they were purchasing.

The company also failed to make any enquiries about the financial position of more than 20,000 customers between April 2011 and March 2013. This included failing to make an assessment as to whether the contract was suitable.

A hearing on penalty will begin later this year.

Background

ASIC’s civil action was heard in December 2014 and April 2015 (refer: 14-316MR). His Honour Justice Beach handed down his judgment on 28 April 2015. Read it at the Federal Court's website.

Editor's note 1:

The matter is back in the Federal Court for a hearing on penalty on 4 September 2015.

Editor's note 2:

On 4 September 2015 the penalty hearing proceeded before Beach J in the Federal Court in Melbourne. Judgment was reserved.

Editor's note 3:

On 18 November 2015, the Federal Court awarded penalties totalling $1.25 million against Make It Mine for breaching consumer credit laws, including its responsible lending obligations (refer: 15-349MR).

Last updated: 07/09/2015 12:00