3 Intermediated auto lending and associated issues

Consumers making large purchases, such as motor vehicles, whitegoods, or furniture, may borrow money in order to pay the price. Often the application for credit is made at the point of sale, not at the lender’s premises. The person with whom the consumer deals at the point of sale is not subject to the NCCP Act.[1] Retail dealers, like car dealers, are entitled to, and do, act as agents for lenders without holding an ACL.[2] Under the point-of-sale exceptions to the NCCP Act, many car dealers (and some retailers), without holding an ACL, have offered loans to consumers to be provided by a lender.[3] Retail dealers acting in this way are sometimes referred to as ‘vendor introducers’.

The case studies examined by the Commission showed three kinds of relevant conduct leading to adverse outcomes for the borrower, or at least, a lender making a loan that was not properly shown to be ‘not unsuitable’ for the borrower:

  • the use of socalled ‘flex commissions’;
  • lenders relying on the retail dealer to provide accurate information about the borrower’s financial situation; and
  • lenders capitalising the cost of ‘add-on insurances’ in the amount lent.

[1]NCCP Regulations reg 23.

[2]Background Paper No 4, 23

[3] Exhibit 1.158, Witness statement of Michael Saadat, 5 March 2018, 2 [11], 23 [128]; Background Paper No 4, 23.