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July 11, 2019

New Zealand sues Westpac for credit card failures

New Zealand’s commerce commission has filed a lawsuit against the local arm of Westpac for failing to disclose certain terms to credit card customers.

The watchdog sought compensation for the affected customers alleging that the Westpac New Zealand has violated the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCFA), reported nzherald.co.nz.

In a statement, the commerce commission said that last year Westpac reported its failure to provide key details to 19,000 personal credit card customers. The failure happened when the customers took their card between May 2017 and March 2018.

The bank blamed an error during a systems upgrade for the failure.

In the lawsuit, the commerce commission sought statutory damages to affected borrowers from Westpac.

The CCCFA provisions compensation between NZ$200 and NZ$6000 per customer.

Commission Chair Anna Rawlings was quoted by the publication as saying: “This case is important for clarifying the scope of lender liability to borrowers, in a situation where thousands of customers were not provided with initial disclosure required under the law.”

Westpac spokesman Will Hine was quoted by the publication as saying: “Corrective disclosure was provided to these customers and we proactively notified the Commerce Commission.

“We also refunded fees and interest charges to customers who were in default, and have made changes to make sure this issue is not repeated.”

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