Complaints to the regulator

In relation to credit contracts, ASIC has increased enforcement powers under the National Credit Act and the Code, including to:

  • ban a person from engaging in credit activities;
  • suspend or cancel a licence;
  • impose or vary a licence condition;
  • accept enforceable undertakings;
  • make adverse publicity orders;
  • issue infringement notices.

As part of the new consumer credit regime, ASIC has introduced a Credit Outreach Team and an Information Line (1300 300 630) to handle any queries in relation to consumer credit.  Section 47 of the National Credit Act sets out general obligations of licensed credit providers (including, for example, to engage in credit activities honestly and fairly; to have compliant IDR and EDR processes in place; to act honestly and; to take reasonable steps to ensure that its representatives are adequately trained and competent to engage in credit activities).  If you are of the view that a credit provider has not complied with these obligations, consider bringing this to the attention of ASIC.

In relation to consumer contracts that are not with financial services, Consumer Affairs Victoria and the ACCC are the relevant regulators.  The remedies and enforcement powers available under the ACL (and the parallel provisions of the ASIC Act) include (from least to most severe):

  • infringement notices, court enforceable undertakings and substantiation notices;
  • declarations, injunctions, damages and compensation orders;
  • non-party redress orders, adverse publicity orders, non-punitive orders, public warning notices;
  • disqualification orders and civil pecuniary penalties; and
  • criminal convictions and fines.

While many of these enforcement powers won’t be relevant to our clients, it is helpful to be aware of them when engaging in negotiation.

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