Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the AA1000439 – New Energy Tech Consumer Code— consultation on proposed amendments to draft Code (Proposed Amendments). Consumer Action has regularly assisted Victorian households to overcome issues with inappropriate finance arrangements in the provision of new energy technology. Our strong preference remains that the ACCC approve the initial code proposal which would require signatories to the NETCC to only offer deferred payment through credit providers that are licensed under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act (NCCPA) and the National Credit Code (NCC). These licensed providers must comply with robust consumer protection requirements, face appropriate consequences for not complying and these protections include well structured access to dispute resolution for households.
However, the ACCC Proposed Amendments have taken a convoluted path of placing selected clauses from the NCCPA for finance providers who claim to be exempt from the NCCPA to comply with so they can continue their unregulated practices in an interim period. While this may improve protections and outcomes for customers of code signatories, a number of challenges arise.