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

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.

Can I buy a car as a student?

Buying a car is a huge financial decision, and shy of marriage and purchasing a house (or perhaps around the world travels), it may be the biggest financial decision you make. But if you’re looking at your empty pockets, don’t despair! Your dream of owning your own car could become a reality, if you look for and compare the right car loans for your circumstances.

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.

Where can I get a student car loan?

Student car loans are not a necessarily a product in and of themselves, but what you may be looking for is a guarantor car loan.

A guarantor car loan has a third-party act as a form of guarantee for your loan application, telling the bank or lender that if you default on your loan, someone will pay the loan repayments.

Going guarantor on a car loan is no new thing, and before internet-based credit scores, guarantor car loan applicants would apply for loans with a guarantor or property owner who could vouch for the person borrowing the loan.

To get a guarantor car loan, you’ll need someone willing to act as a guarantor for your car loan.

What is CTP insurance?

CTP insurance, also known as compulsory third-party 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 CTP insurance will be used to pay any compensation due to anyone who might be injured or killed. However, CTP insurance doesn’t cover you for vehicle damage or theft.

What is a secured car loan?

A secured car loan is a loan that is connected to a form of security, or collateral. Generally, the security for a car loan is the car itself. If you fail to repay the loan, the lender might seize your car, sell it and then use the proceeds to recover their debt.

What is an LVR?

The LVR, or loan-to-value ratio, is a percentage that expresses the amount of money owed on the car compared to the value of the car. For example, if you take out a $15,000 loan to buy a $20,000 car, you have an LVR of 75 per cent. LVRs change over time as you pay off your loan and your car depreciates in value. For example, two years later you might now owe $10,000 on your car, which might now be worth $15,000. In that case, although there would still be a $5,000 difference between the size of the outstanding loan and the value of the car, the LVR would now be 67 per cent.

Can I get a car loan with poor credit?

Poor credit doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get finance for your car purchase, though your options aren’t likely to be the same as someone with good credit.

In fact, a number of specialist lenders exist offering car finance for customers with poor credit, able to provide access to bad credit car loans.

However having a history of poor credit will likely mark you as a potential risk to lenders, so your car financing needs could see higher fees and interest rates. Alternatively, consider a secured car loan, which is a type of loan that uses the car you purchase as collateral, reducing the risk.

Other options include getting someone close to act as a guarantor for your car loan, or to talk to a broker about a personalised rate specific to your circumstances.

What is a car loan?

A car loan, also known as vehicle finance, is money that a consumer borrows with the express purpose of buying a vehicle, such as a car, motorbike, van, truck or campervan. Car loans can be used for both new and used vehicles.

What is dealer finance?

Dealer finance is a car loan organised through a car dealer – as opposed to car loans organised by a finance broker or directly by the lender.

How to find a great car loan

Historically, finding a great car loan would require excess research ranging from visiting an excess of websites or making phone calls, but technology has moved on. Using RateCity, Australia’s leading financial comparison service, you can check out great deals from a range of lenders on the one site.

To start, select the amount you want to borrow and the length of the loan, narrowing your search to show just fixed or variable interest rate results.

Once you’ve indicated your search criteria, you’ll see an immediate list of lenders, ranked by interest rate or application fees. You’ll also be able to view the monthly repayment amount for each result, helping you to know what you can afford.

Up to six products can be compared side-by-side, complete with more information about each car loan, giving you more information about your options.

When comparing your car loan options, it’s ideal to keep in mind some points find a great car loan for your needs. Consider the following:

  • Choosing a low interest car loan can reduce costs
  • Selecting an option with low fees and charges is ideal, because these can really add up
  • Be aware of penalties, such as early exit penalties if you pay off the loan sooner than expected
  • Consider the features that best suit your situation

There are many ways to ensure that you get a great car loan. Ultimately, you’ll end up with the best deal by doing your research and selecting the most suitable product for you.

What is a loan-to-value ratio?

The loan-to-value ratio, or LVR, is a percentage that expresses the amount of money owed on the car compared to the value of the car. For example, if you take out a $15,000 loan to buy a $20,000 car, you have a loan-to-value ratio of 75 per cent. Loan-to-value ratios change over time as you pay off your loan and your car depreciates in value. For example, two years later you might now owe $10,000 on your car, which might now be worth $15,000. In that case, although there would still be a $5,000 difference between the size of the outstanding loan and the value of the car, the loan-to-value ratio would now be 67 per cent.