Wednesday, September 17, 2014

UBank fined $40,800 for misleading advertisements

Today ASIC published the findings against National Australia Bank's Ubank for misleading advertisements with regard to their $2014 eftpos card giveaway that was around earlier this year and at the end of last year. The fine was for four instances of $10,200 each.

The advertisements with headline statements, including ‘The BEST $2014 EVER’ and ‘Own $2014’ appeared in newspapers, radio and online from late December 2013 to early March 2014 and in digital screens on escalators from late January 2014 to February 2014. 

ASIC was concerned that some details of UBank’s offer were not disclosed in some of the advertisements and, in others, were not disclosed in a clear and prominent manner. These included: 
  • a minimum loan amount of $350,000
  • a requirement to use an electronic settlement process (known as FASTRefi) for refinanced loans
  • all documents to be provided within five days, and
  • a cap on the number of consumers eligible to receive the offer.

Followers of LifeinPerth would have seen our post earlier in the year about this deal highlighting the conditions attached to the offer.

Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'ASIC's crackdown on misleading advertising has seen action taken against 10 entities this year. 

'ASIC will continue to take action where we believe firms have not provided clear, consistent information in their advertising'. 

ASIC’s concerns led to UBank providing a $2,014 gift card to all consumers who applied for a loan during the relevant period and subsequently settled their loan. 

Other entities that have been fined by ASIC for similar unclear advertising:

  • Make it Mine Finance Pty Ltd pays $20,400 penalty for misleading advertising (refer: 14-198MR)
  • Esuperfund Pty Ltd pays $30,600 penalty for misleading advertising (refer:14-196MR)
  • Your Super Accountant pays infringement notice in relation to ‘FREE’ SMSF set up claims (refer: 14-195MR)
  • Virgin Money pays $30,600 penalty for misleading advertising (refer: 14-091MR)
  • Wealth Within Ltd pays $20,400 in penalties over misleading advertising (refer: 14-075MR)
  • Small amount lender pays $30,600 penalty for misleading online advertisements (refer: 14-065MR)
  • SuperHelp Australia Pty Ltd pays infringement notice in relation to FREE SMSF fund setup claims (refer: 14-051MR)
  • Finance broker pays $20,400 infringement notice penalty (refer: 14-022MR)
  • Media Super pays infringement notice in relation to superannuation advertising (refer: 14-001MR).

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