New Energy Tech Consumer Code must protect Australians from exploitative buy now pay later arrangements
Consumer Action regularly assists vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers in Victoria with legal and financial issues that arise due to new energy technology such as solar. . The New Energy Tech Consumer Code is an important first step to addressing these systemic issues.
In our response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) AA1000439 New Energy Tech Consumer Code Application (the Code) for Authorisation Draft Determination (Draft Determination), we encourage the ACCC to address the inadequate protections for consumers using buy now pay later products to purchase new energy technology.
It is critical that signatories of the Code only offer deferred payment arrangements that are regulated by the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (NCCPA) and National Credit Code (NCC) and provided by credit providers who are licensed under the NCCPA. Buy Now Pay Later providers fall outside of the NCCPA and this means Australians are not covered by these critical protections when they use these providers to purchase products like solar. To stop significant consumer harm it will be critical for the ACCC to maintain their draft determination to approve this requirement in the Code.
We also stress the need for the Code to go further and require signatories not to undertake unsolicited selling.