APRIL 18, 2018

Know a responsible mobile trader form an irresponsible one

In light of recent news reports highlighting unscrupulous mobile trading practices, the Financial Services Federation is urging consumers to take advantage of its Responsible Mobile Shop Code to help separate a responsible trader from an irresponsible one.

The Responsible Mobile Shop Code is an easy-to-read, consumer resource brochure which the Financial Services Federation launched in October 2017 in support of the Commerce Commission’s crackdown on the mobile trader sector.

The Code is to help arm consumers with valuable knowledge if they choose to deal with a mobile trader and was developed with consultation from the likes of disputes resolution services and the National Building Financial Capability Charitable Trust.

The Financial Services Federation is the voice of New Zealand’s responsible, non-bank financial institutions. It has one mobile trading member, Home Direct, which was in July 2017 reported as the only one of 32 visited companies which the Commerce Commission was satisfied as compliant with its Fair Trading Act and responsible lending obligations (under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act).

Michael Wright, CEO of Home Direct, (which does not sell food items) has said the recent media reports

highlights some critical issues going on within the mobile shopping industry, and concerns around high-prices, cycles of debt, predatory lending and selling practices.

“These are issues we have been highlighting to the Commerce Commission for some time and we are really pleased to see they have been enforcing existing and new legislation to address some of those issues,” Wright says.

“Yes, there are absolutely some cowboys in this industry, but I think it’s very important to separate unethical non-compliant traders form those traders which are compliant, providing what can be a great retail option if managed well.”

Lyn McMorran, Executive Director of the Financial Services Federation, says that from the Financial Services Federation’s point of view, there is an appetite for a mobile shopping sector and when provided appropriately it is a valuable service to consumers who are house-bound or who have difficulty in getting to shops for other reasons.

“But these consumers need to be treated better by mobile traders and need to know their rights when dealing with one,” McMorran says.

“Certain people for one reason or another are extremely inconvenienced or unable to access traditional stores during regular opening hours, or prefer to purchase items from the comfort of their own home.

“Regardless of the ways in which consumers choose to purchase, our main concern is that they continue to

have a choice, and if they choose a mobile trader, that a trader will act responsibly by demonstrating principles outlined in this Code.”

As well as being a source of information for consumers, The Financial Services Federation hopes that messages in the Code may be taken on by other traders to help lift standards in the sector.

The Responsible Mobile Shop Code can be downloaded from the Consumer Information section of the FSF website here.

Download in PDF form

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