Rental retailer forced to refund more than $100,000

After failing to meet obligations.

NSW whitegoods and furniture rental company, The Rental Guys has paid $100,000 to regional customers after ASIC found they failed to meet their responsible lending obligations. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) was concerned that The Rental Guys failed to make proper inquiries, conduct verification and carry out unsuitability assessments when entering certain customers into new contracts.

Under the new contracts, the customers, mainly from regional Indigenous communities in NSW, were charged higher rates and gave up their rights to own goods, that they had under their original contracts.

The Rental Guys has refunded most of the affected customers in cash payments or account credits. After July 2017, unclaimed refunds will be paid to a community organisation, to be approved by ASIC. Eligible customers will still be able to claim a refund after this period.

ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said, “The law is clear when it comes to responsible lending and leasing. Proper assessments must be made into every customer’s ability to repay their loan or lease without hardship. Customers should be confident that when they take out a lease, the lessor has done the work to ensure it is a lease they can afford.”

“We will continue to focus on the consumer lease industry, because consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers who use lease essential products, should not be disadvantaged by rental companies’ poor compliance.

“Customers of The Rental Guys between November 2013 and January 2014 who have not already received a refund should contact them on (02) 6862 5055. If you think you are entitled for a refund from the Rental Guys, I urge you to contact them as soon as possible,” he added.

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