Peer-to-peer lender Harmoney has been fined $292,500 in Auckland District Court for telling people they were pre-approved for loans they hadn't applied for.
The Commerce Commission filed 6 charges under the Fair Trading Act relating to the 500,000 letters Harmoney sent to New Zealanders between October 2014 and April 2015.
Recipients were told to visit Harmoney's website to find out how much they had been approved to borrow. But they hadn't been pre-approved and had to go through the normal application process.
Commissioner Anna Rawlings said the campaign relied on misrepresentations to draw consumers into a sales process, giving Harmoney an advantage in the market it would not have otherwise have had.
“It also had the potential to harm consumers who responded to the letter. Believing that they were guaranteed a loan, they may have been encouraged to sign up with Harmoney without first checking whether the terms offered were the best available to them in the market,” ” Ms Rawlings said.