The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken on one of Australia's biggest credit providers, GE Money, initiating court action alleging misleading and deceptive conduct.
The regulator announced the legal move yesterday, saying it had started civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against GE Capital Finance Australia trading as GE Money.
The ASIC confirmation noted that GE Money's customers included people who have Myer and Coles- branded credit cards and also include cards such as 28 Degrees MasterCard, Eco MasterCard, Coles Source MasterCard, GO MasterCard, Buyer's Edge, GEM Visa, Myer Card Black and Myer Visa Card.
The regulator said the action centered on GE Money seeking customers' consent to receive offers to apply for higher credit limits.
"ASIC alleges GE Money engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made false and misleading representations to customers seeking to activate their credit cards or obtain credit limit increases," it said.
"ASIC contends the evidence will show that between 5 January 2012 and 27 May 2012, GE Money represented to customers, over the telephone and by letter, that they had to give GE Money consent to send them unsolicited credit limit increase offers before it would activate their credit card or give them a credit limit increase.
"ASIC alleges that in fact, cardholders could still activate their credit cards or obtain credit limit increases without giving consent to receive unsolicited offers."
ASIC said it was seeking a declaration from the court that GE Money engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made false and misleading representations, and was also seek a fine be imposed.