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10 September 2020
Australian dollars

The State Government is seeking to regulate payday lenders and those offering consumer leases in South Australia, to improve protections for consumers who borrow small amounts of money or enter into leases for household goods, such as fridges or sofas. 

These lenders can offer quick cash which can be accessed online and via cash loan machines. But both payday loans and consumer leases can attract high fees and high interest rates and can quickly lead to significant financial hardship and distress for consumers.

The proposed legislation would introduce a number of requirements for providers of payday loans and consumer leases, to better protect consumers.

Requirements for payday lenders

  • A ban on making an unsolicited approach to consumers. Consumers would have the  right to recover any money paid under an unsolicited loan agreement.
  • No early termination fees – eg a monthly fee where a consumer fully repays the loan early.
  • Repayments must be for equal amounts, at equal intervals across the life of the loan.

Requirements for consumer lease providers

  • Lessors must disclose the base price of the good and the difference between the total repayments and the base price.
  • A ban on door-to-door selling. Consumers would have the right to recover any money paid under an unsolicited lease agreement and the option to keep the good for the base price.
  • Lessors and those who provide credit assistance must obtain and consider 90 days of bank statements before entering into a lease with a consumer.
  • Setting a cap on lease payments.

Requirements for both payday lenders and consumer lease providers

  • Setting a cap of 10% of a consumer’s net income that can be allocated to a payday loan or consumer lease.
  • Recording in writing the assessments of a consumer’s suitability for a loan.
  • Restrictions on using or disclosing account statements in connection with a payday loan or consumer lease.

Consultation

Feedback is invited on the draft Fair Trading (Small Amount Credit Contracts and Consumer Leases) Amendment Bill 2020.  All feedback received will be considered in finalising the Bill and drafting supporting Regulations.

Please email your feedback to CBSReforms [at] sa.gov.au.

Submissions close 6 November 2020.