A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer.
“The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it examined did not comply with their obligations under Finance and Commerce law.
“Sadly it’s the Wild West out there where unscrupulous sellers are taking those people who can least afford it for a ride. It’s something Labour has been pushing hard to clean up for some time.
“But the Commission says its hands are tied to do anything about the ridiculously high prices and interest rates that are being charged by the dealers because it lies outside the laws it enforces. As its report states: ‘Currently there is no law in New Zealand that restricts the prices or interest rates traders can charge.’
“That’s because the Government has voted down legislation that would have capped interest rates. Nearly every other Western country has caps.
“Vulnerable kiwi families are becoming hugely indebted to unscrupulous traders who are legally allowed to charge interest rates of up to 100 per cent.
“Truck shops often don’t make it clear the total amount that consumers will need to pay. Instead, unsuspecting customers are talked into deals that see them paying several times more for a good that is often of inferior quality.
“That is easily fixed by including an obligation to state the Recommended Retail Price, the weekly amount and the total final amount on every contract.
“It just needs the Government to act. It is time for Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith to move beyond his excuses and throat clearing and get cracking. If he wanted the evidence it’s here in front of him,” says David Shearer.