James Middleweek

New ASIC powers long overdue

Talk in the Financial Review today about ASIC potentially getting new powers to outlaw unsuitable financial products. Whether this will happen, who knows, but they are long overdue. And if ASIC ever do get the powers, the first product they should look at is Consumer Credit Insurance. Currently, ASIC is merely fiddling around the edges. Yet the […]

Will other Banks follow NAB’s lead ?

After five years of campaigning, it was satisfying to read NAB’s announcement that that it would like to settle its Bank Fees class action. In fairness to NAB, it was the first bank to reduce or eliminate exception fees. Now, subject to court approval, it is moving to offer some payback to customers in our […]

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

A great victory in the High Court today against ANZ on an expanded doctrine of penalties. I see that ANZ is still committed to defending these charges as a true cost recovery. Given that they have slashed their exception fees from $35 to $0-6 that may be a challenge. Are they really now losing $29 […]

Telco Confusopoly to continue

Yesterday, ACMA released the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code 2012. This is a revision of the 2007 code, which has proved woefully inadequate to protect consumers from bill shock. On the face of it the new code obliges telcos to be more upfront about pricing. But real transparency will never be possible while telcos continue to […]

The hidden scandal of Consumer Credit Insurance

Have you ever signed up to a Consumer Credit Insurance (CCI) policy? These policies are products that are designed to cover some or all of your repayments, e.g. if you lose your job. This type of insurance is usually sold concurrently with a credit card, personal loan or mortgage. However, to sell as many of […]

Banks and the small business squeeze

The spotlight is back on the banks following the initial partial success in the ANZ class action on late payment fees, and the rate rise debate that has followed. In many ways, though, the bigger, less heralded story of the last few years has been the relentless squeeze on small business by the banks. Today, […]

The Great Rip Off Fee Debate – Jetstar

I expect a judgement in the test case against ANZ on penalty fees in the next couple of months. If it is successful, it will inevitably throw the spotlight not just on bank fees, but also many other walks of life where consumers are slugged with arbitary, add on fees. I would welcome readers’ contributions […]

Telco Complaints Handling

ACMA might be interested in a classic exchange between a Three Mobile customer service representative called Richard and our Operations Manager Steve Wilding today in respect of one of our clients on whose behalf we had sent a written complaint. They are required to deal with validly appointed customer advocates. Call from Three : We […]

A ticking Time Bomb ?

The news that UK banks are having to repay billions of dollars to consumers who were sold Loan/Payment Protection insurance raises the obvious question – why isn’t the same thing happening here ? The banks love this type of insurance product – it’s one of the highest margin products in their portfolio, pricing is uncompetitive […]

ANZ’s fear of regulation

I see that ANZ CEO Mike Smith is worried that foreign investors will be scared away from investing in Australia because of ” the populist approach” towards the regulation of banks. The sad truth is that overseas shareholders perceive Australia to be a country where oligopolies, whether in banking or other sectors, can fleece their […]

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