Car customers get $72.7m of refunds

Car customers get $72.7m of refunds

Australia’s financial services regulator has targeted ANZ, Allianz, Suncorp and National Warranty Company for unacceptable car loan, insurance and warranty practices.

ASIC said it had started civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against ANZ, with the first hearing scheduled for 2 February.

The regulator said ANZ’s former car finance business, Esanda, had breached responsible lending rules when it approved certain car loans from three broking businesses.

ANZ will remediate approximately 320 car loan customers for loans taken out through three broker businesses from 2013 to 2015, totalling around $5 million. The loans are likely to have been affected by fraud,” according to the regulator.

“ASIC alleges that between 25 July 2013 and 12 May 2015, ANZ failed to meet its responsible lending obligations when relying only on payslips included in 12 car loan applications to verify the consumer’s income, in circumstances where it knew that payslips could be easily falsified and it had reason to doubt the reliability of information from the particular broker businesses.”

Commissions led to bad sales practices

ASIC also announced that National Warranty Company (NWC) had broken the rules on conflicted remuneration when issuing commission incentives for the sale of car warranties.

“NWC sales staff had the discretion to set the price for the warranty, which was directly linked to their sales commission. The more expensive the warranty, the larger the sales commission,” the regulator said.

“In response to ASIC’s concerns, NWC will refund 6,367 warranty customers the difference (including interest) between what they paid and the cheapest price at which the dealer sold that, a total of approximately $4.9 million.”

The refunds apply to some warranties sold between 1 July 2013 and 28 May 2015.

Car buyers sold dud add-on insurance

Meanwhile, Suncorp will refund $17.2 million to 41,428 add-on insurance customers “for insurance bought through car dealerships that provided little or no value to consumers”.

The insurance was provided by MTA Insurance, which is owned by Suncorp.

ASIC found that, between 2009 and 2017, some customers were sold add-on insurance on which it was “unlikely” they would ever have been able to make a claim.

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Insurance problems keep adding up

Allianz Australia Insurance will also refund $45.6 million to 68,000 customers “for add-on insurance sold through car dealerships that were of little to no value”.

The refund program covers four Allianz add-on insurance products sold between 1 December 2010 and 30 November 2017, according to the regulator.

ASIC’s concerns included customers being “sold a policy they would be ineligible to make a claim on” or “sold a higher and more expensive level of cover than needed”.

Allianz will also make a community benefit payment of $175,000 to a financial literacy organisation.

Customers deserve a fair go

ASIC acknowledged that ANZ, National Warranty Company, Suncorp and Allianz had all cooperated with its investigations.

ASIC acting chair Peter Kell, speaking on the Suncorp matter, said that add-on insurance has been in the regulator’s sights for some time.

“Insurers should be taking active steps to ensure their customers are not being sold products that provide little or no value,” he said.

“ASIC’s work on add-on insurance is all about making sure customers are being sold insurance that meets their needs, and if they haven’t, are appropriately remediated.”

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Learn more about car loans

Can you get a chattel mortgage with bad credit?

Getting approval for a chattel mortgage with bad credit may be possible, given ‘chattel’ (usually a piece of equipment or car) is put up as security for the loan. That means if you fail to repay the loan, the creditor can recover the loaned amount by repossessing and selling the car or piece of equipment. This differs from unsecured car loans, where the asset is not tied to the loan and cannot be taken if you don’t meet the repayments. 

Does my insurance cover other cars I drive?

If you’re driving someone else’s car, say your friend’s, and you’re involved in an accident, whose insurance is responsible, yours or your friend’s? Does car insurance cover driving other people’s cars?

The short answer is yes. A few car insurance providers offer insurance cover for people to drive someone else’s car. It’s always better to double-check this before you get behind the wheel.

If you’re not covered, you can opt for non-owner car insurance which lets you drive someone else’s car and be protected against liability. However, you will not benefit from other coverage such as damage to the vehicle, replacement rental or medical expenses.

Getting comprehensive insurance driving other cars can be done with temporary insurance. It’s recommended that you do this if you plan to drive someone else’s car, even for a short duration. You can choose between policies that cover you for a fortnight, a month or even a pay-as-you-drive option with temporary insurance.

Alternatively, you can ask the car’s owner to check with their insurer if you can be added to the policy. This will ensure that you are covered fully with comprehensive car insurance driving other cars. Do note that adding you could increase the annual premium for the owner.

What is comprehensive insurance?

Comprehensive insurance protects you in the event you’re responsible for a car accident. Policies vary from provider to provider, but comprehensive insurance generally covers you for damage to your car and property, as well as the other parties’ cars and property. A comprehensive insurance policy may also protect you from theft, vandalism and natural disasters.

How much is your car worth?

If you already own a car, you could potentially bring down the cost by selling your car in the process. Before that happens, though, you’ll need to find out how much your car is worth.

One of the first places to find this value is to research the value of your current car, giving you an idea of roughly how much it’s worth in its peak condition.

There are plenty of websites that offer a free online valuation, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with results listing a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Of course, dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it, making it highly unlikely that you’ll get the same price selling a car to a dealer as you would selling a car privately.

However, private car sales can be costly and can take months to sell, making car trading more convenient with a guaranteed return, even if you may not be able to realise the total value of your car’s worth.

Remember that everything is negotiable. If the dealership is offering you less for your trade than you wanted, try to negotiate elsewhere to gain that money back. Start by negotiating on the price of the trade and then ask them if they can give you a further discount on your new car.

How do you get a car loan?

There are four different ways you can get a car loan. You can go straight to a lender. You can get a finance broker to organise a car loan for you. You can get ‘dealer finance’ – which is when the car dealer organises a car loan for you. Or you can organise your own car loan through a comparison website, like RateCity.

Whichever method you choose, you will need to provide proof of identification, proof of income and proof of savings. So you may be asked for any combination of passport, driver’s licence, bank statements, payslips, tax returns and utility bills. You might also be asked to provide proof of insurance.

How much is my car worth?

If you own a car, it may be something that can help you bring down the cost of your next vehicle purchase through its sale. However, before you can do that you’ll want to find out how much your car is worth.

Your car’s worth can depend upon various aspects, including:

  • Age
  • Condition
  • Model and make

A great starting place for aspects of this includes websites that offer online valuations, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with the listed results displaying a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Both have pros and cons, as cars can be very profitable, something that will no doubt impact any chance you have to make the most of your car’s value upon sale. Dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it for, so you shouldn’t expect the same price selling a car to a dealer that you would necessarily get selling a car privately.

How to get a chattel mortgage?

Both businesses and individuals may use a chattel mortgage, provided that the car is being used predominantly for business purposes. 

To apply for a chattel mortgage, you need to first consider your options and choose a suitable lender that meets your requirements. Once you have selected a lender, you can apply for the loan online by filling out a form. If the lender doesn’t offer an online application process, you can either call them or visit their nearest branch. 

After you’ve applied, the lender will ask you to supply documents that confirm your identification, income, job profile, etc. If everything is in order, most lenders will arrange the loan’s settlement, so all you need to do is pick up your car!

What is repayment frequency?

Repayment frequency is how regularly you have to make car loan repayments to your lender. The most common repayment frequency is monthly, but many lenders will also give you the option of making fortnightly or weekly repayments.

What is a car loan calculator?

A car loan calculator is an online tool that helps consumers understand how much they would have to repay under different scenarios. Consumers can create these different scenarios by entering different borrowing amounts, interest rates, loan terms and repayment schedules into the car loan calculator.

What is trade-in value?

The trade-in value is the price you could realistically charge if you were to sell your car to a dealer while buying a replacement vehicle. Generally, a car’s trade-in value is less than its market value. That’s because the dealer has no interest in buying your car unless it can make a profit – which can only be done if the dealer has room to increase the price.

What is a refinance?

A refinance is when you swap one car loan with another. For example, you might take out a car loan with Lender X because it is the best on the market at the time – but two years later, you might switch to Lender Y because you discover that it now has the best loan. Conditions and fees often apply when you refinance.

What is a redraw facility?

A redraw facility allows you to re-borrow any funds you may have repaid ahead of schedule – although conditions and fees often apply. Not all car loans come with a redraw facility.

What is compulsory third-party insurance?

Compulsory third-party insurance, also known as CTP insurance or a green slip, is compulsory if you want to register a vehicle in Australia. If you’re responsible for a car accident, your compulsory third-party insurance will be used to pay any compensation due to anyone who might be injured or killed. However, compulsory third-party insurance doesn’t cover you for vehicle damage or theft.

What is a finance lease?

A finance lease, also known as an asset lease or car lease, is an arrangement by which a finance company buys a car on your behalf. You get to borrow the car in return for making regular payments to the financier. At the end of the lease, you can either buy the car or hand it back.