The National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Financial Sector Reform) Regulations 2023 (the Regulations) seek to amend the National Consumer Credit Protection Regulations 2010 to give effect to the government’s response to the Review of the Small Amount Credit Contract Laws (the Review).
The Regulations work with the Financial Sector Reform Act 2022 to enhance the consumer protection framework for small amount credit contracts (SACCs) and consumer leases, while ensuring these products can continue to fulfil an important role in the economy. The matters addressed by the Regulations are as follows:
- adding an additional requirement that licensees verify the financial situation of consumers before entering into a contract with them
- consumer income requirements for both SACCs and consumer leases for household goods
- anti-avoidance measures targeted at avoidance purposes relating to credit contracts and product intervention orders
- the prescription of new civil penalties subject to the Act infringement notice regime
- disclosure of information requirements for consumer leases for household goods
- the calculation method for the base price of goods hired under a consumer lease and
- early termination fee principles for consumer leases for household goods.
These matters are designed to ensure consumers of SACCs and consumer leases, many of whom are financially vulnerable, are not left unable to meet their basic needs or other financial commitments as a result of entering into inappropriate financial arrangements with SACC providers or consumer lessors.
They also target persons engaging in avoidance schemes in relation to the consumer protections under the Act, or the application of product intervention orders under the Act.