Vulnerable Consumers

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The UK’s financial services conduct regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), wants “higher level of consumer protection in retail financial markets, where firms are competing vigorously in the interests of consumers”. A key part of this is a new ‘Consumer Duty’.  The consultation proposes:  a new Consumer Principle that provides an overarching standard of conduct; and  a set of Crosscutting Rules and four Outcomes that…

Read More UK’s Financial Conduct Authority proposes a new “consumer duty” – is it needed in Australia?

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The Customer Owned Banking Code Compliance Committee (the Committee) has released its ACS Verification Report 2019–20: Insights and Learnings. This Report is an addition to the summary data published in the Committee’s Annual Report in December 2020. It contains analysis of the self-reported data collected in the 2019–20 Annual Compliance Statement (ACS) and of the…

Read More Code Compliance Committee releases Annual Data Verification Report 2019-20

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The Code Review Panel for the Retirement Living Code has published its inaugural Annual Report. The report confirms that in Australia today, more than 46% of retirement village residents are living in a Code Compliant community. The Code Review Panel comprises Dr Elizabeth Lanyon (Independent Chair of the Code Review Panel), Peter Nilsson (Operator Representative),…

Read More Retirement Living Code of Conduct – Annual Report

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating across Australia. Whilst job losses and financial instability did not discriminate, consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities have been disproportionately impacted. CPRC undertook this research to measure the economic fallout of COVID-19 with consumers who speak a language other than English at home, compared…

Read More Consumers from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds experienced greater hardship during COVID-19 lockdown due to financial stress and poor industry practices

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Australian banks are launching updated guidelines on financial abuse as part of their continued focus on responding to family violence and elder abuse. The updated industry-wide approach is designed to ensure bank staff are equipped to recognise signs of financial abuse. This is an ABA media release, originally published on 4th April, 2021. “This kind of…

Read More Banks unite to help customers experiencing financial abuse

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Australian banks are urging state and territory governments to adopt consistent laws on powers of attorney to prevent elder financial abuse.  This is a media release from the Australian Banking Association. It was originally published on 31st March, 2021. State and federal Attorneys-General are meeting today to consider a scope for a national register of power of…

Read More Banks call for consistent laws to prevent elder abuse

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Customers needing life support equipment – such as kidney dialysis machines – will find it easier and cheaper to shop around for better energy deals under a new rule announced by the Australian Energy Market Commission. This is an AEMC media release, originally published on the 25th February, 2021. The change to the National Energy…

Read More New rule helps life support customers switch and save on energy plans

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A Consultation Paper on Aspirations for the Food Regulatory System was released in November 2020 by consultants on behalf of the Food Regulation Standing Committee. The Paper is available here . It is one of the interconnected projects that are part of the food regulation reform program initiated by the Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum…

Read More CFA Responds to Consultation Paper on Aspirations for the Food Regulatory System

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When it commenced on 1 January 2019 the Payment Difficulty Framework (PDF) represented a major shift in the Victorian retail energy sector’s response to payment difficulty. This is an EWOV article. Under the PDF, energy retailers have been required to take a much more proactive and tailored approach when assisting financially struggling customers. Almost two…

Read More Missing the Mark: EWOV insights on the impact of the Payment Difficulty Framework

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According to a new report released yesterday by Consumer Action Law Centre, approximately 1.4 to 1.9 million Australians have paid for debt management or credit repair services in the last 12 months. These companies are known as ‘debt vultures’ as they often target people in financial hardship with poor quality debt advice and services. This a Consumer…

Read More Up to 1.9 million Australians paid debt vultures in the last 12 months: Consumer Action Law Centre

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Thirteen consumer groups have joined together to provide a submission on the draft Buy Now Pay Later Code of Practice (BNPL code), developed by the Australian Finance Industry Association (AFIA). While noting that industry codes can provide beneficial commitments, the consumer advocates consider inconsistent regulation among buy now pay later products and other consumer credit…

Read More Consumer groups say a self-regulatory code for Buy Now Pay Later lenders is no substitute for consumer protection in law

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The Queensland Office of Fair Trading warns of employment opportunity scams in the following media release. COVID-19 has unleashed literally hundreds of scams across Australia and the next ones the Queensland Office of Fair Trading wants consumers to watch out for are employment opportunity scams. Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said scammers hiding behind…

Read More Consumers urged to look out for employment opportunity scams in the wake of COVID-19