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GE customers to get $3m refund after payment glitch

Friday 14th November 2008

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Customers of GE Money will get about $3.1 million of refunds after the finance company reached an out-of-court settlement with the Commerce Commission.

The refunds will go to about 3,660 customers who took advantage of an 'interest-free' offer to buy items and were subsequently charged interest, according to a statement from the commission today. The firm has over 300,000 customers and financial assets of more than $2 billion.

GE Finance and Insurance, which trades as GE Money, admitted breaching the Fair Trading Act by charging interest to customers who bought goods at Noel Leeming and Bond and Bond stores under a "Pay Nothing Until July/August 2007" that ran in late 2005, early 2006.

Under the promotion, customers got finance for a three-year term and weren't required to make payments until an early exit date typically 17 months after purchase. Still, those opting for full repayment at the early exit date found they'd been charged interest for the entire period, according to the statement.

"Retailers and finance companies have an obligation to ensure that, if finance is offered as interest free, it truly is," commission chair Paula Rebstock said.

By Jonathan Underhill



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