Affected customers encouraged to contact Credit Ombudsman Service
ASIC has cancelled the credit licence of Mobile Rentals Pty Ltd (Mobile Rentals), a Victoria-based household goods rental company, and banned director Ajay Kaushik from engaging in credit activities for 5 years.
By not ensuring responsible lending practices, or providing key information to consumers, Mobile Rentals failed to meet its multiple responsibilities under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (National Credit Act).
‘The responsible lending provisions are a key element of the national credit laws. ASIC has been, and will continue to be, very active in monitoring compliance and investigating reports of breaches,’ ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said.
An ASIC investigation found that between 24 February 2011 and 5 August 2011, Mobile Rentals did not comply with responsible lending obligations set out in the National Credit Act.
Specifically, ASIC found Mobile Rentals:
– failed to keep adequate records of responsible lending assessments;
– did not make reasonable inquires about the requirements and objectives of those entering into contracts;
– did not make reasonable inquiries about, or take steps to verify, a consumer’s financial situation
– did not provide consumers with a credit guide, and
– did not make the necessary disclosures in the rental contract.
‘Many consumers who entered into contracts with Mobile Rentals were on Centrelink benefits and I encourage any who have complaints about their dealings with Mobile Rentals to contact the Credit Ombudsman Service Limited on 1800 138 422’, Mr Kell said.
‘Consumers should be aware that any complaint must be lodged while Mobile Rentals is a member of this service. ASIC has required Mobile Rentals to maintain its membership of an external dispute resolution service for the next 12 months.’
Mobile Rentals and Mr Kaushik have the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decisions.
The National Credit Act requires credit licensees to meet responsible lending conduct obligations.
A credit licensee must:
make reasonable inquiries of the consumer about their requirements and objectives in relation to the credit contract;
take reasonable steps to verify the consumer’s financial situation;
based upon these inquiries, assess whether the credit product is unsuitable for the consumer and only proceed if the credit product is not unsuitable, and
provide the consumer with a copy of the assessment if requested.
Credit licensees must not suggest, assist with or provide a credit product that is unsuitable for a consumer.
A contract is deemed unsuitable if the consumer is unable to repay it without substantial hardship or it does not meet the consumer’s requirements or objectives. The requirements also apply where the credit limit on an existing contract is being increased.
Mobile Rentals’ credit licence is cancelled however it must maintain an internal dispute resolution procedure, and remains a member of an approved external dispute resolution scheme. It also needs to have adequate compensation arrangements in accordance with the National Credit Act until 11 February 2014.