A Gold Coast-based financial planning and property management company has had to pay thousands in penalties to ASIC for false or misleading advertising about home loans.
Equanimity Concepts ran advertisements about financing options for home loans on their website, on YouTube, in in-flight magazines for Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin, and in police journals for more than two years.
However, ASIC has said that these advertisements could have misled consumers into thinking that if they borrowed with Equanimity, they would be helped to repay their home loan in a reduced timeframe without incurring further debt. For example, one line read, “Pay off your 25 year home loan in less than 5 years.”
In November 2014, Equanimity entered into an enforceable undertaking with ASIC, but in further regulatory action over the matter, ASIC has now issued the company with three infringement notices of $10,200 each. Thus, Equanimity has had to pay a total of $30,600 in penalties to the regulator.
ASIC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws. The payment of an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the NCCP.