To plead guilty to 15 charges
11 Aug 2016
The Commerce Commission says insurer Youi will plead guilty to 15 Fair Trading Act charges alleging it employed misleading sales techniques when attempting to sell policies to consumers who were only seeking a quote.
The Commerce Commission charges against Youi follow two detailed articles about the company written by freelance journalist Diana Clement for interest.co.nz. Clement's articles are here and here.
The charges are being filed against Youi in the Auckland District Court.
Specifically, the Commerce Commission alleges Youi: made false or misleading representations on its website regarding consumers’ ability to obtain a quote online; made false or misleading statements during telephone sales calls with consumers, including telling them bank or credit card details were required to generate a policy quote; asserted a right to payment for unsolicited insurance policies by sending letters demanding payment and/or debiting consumers’ bank or credit card accounts without their express permission or knowledge, and; sent invoices to consumers in relation to unsolicited insurance policies that did not specify that the consumer was under no obligation to pay for the policies.
"Youi has co-operated with the Commission’s investigation and has indicated that it intends to plead guilty to the charges," the Commerce Commission says.
For its part Youi says it acknowledges the validity of customer complaints relating to instances where policies were sold, when only quotes were requested and the failure to cancel insurance policies after being notified.
"Youi immediately took steps to resolve these complaints with affected customers directly. While these transgressions were not part of Youi's standard operating procedures, where the actions of employees or processes failed customer expectations appropriate remedial actions have been taken. Changes have been implemented to improve compliance with operational processes. Furthermore, the website content and disclosures have been updated to improve clarity, compliance and alignment with customer expectations," Youi CEO Danie Matthee says.
“From the point the issues were brought to our attention we co-operated fully with the Commission and speedily implemented changes to our business practices that had fallen short of customer expectations, service standards and legal requirements. We unreservedly apologised to all affected customers," Matthee adds.
Diana Clement investigation
- source: interest.co.nz