Elite Mortgage Brokers, a Melbourne-based Chinese mortgage broking firm, has recently agreed to make changes to its website and print advertisements in response to concerns raised by ASIC.
ASIC was concerned that the following statements, which were made in Chinese, were misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive:
- 100% success rate
- pre-approvals within 15 minutes
- Melbourne’s largest Chinese mortgage broker; and
- “matching all banks” interest rates.
The advertisements were made over the period October 2014 through to March 2015 in the Melbourne Property Weekly and on Elite Mortgage Brokers’ business website.
Lenders or brokers that are subject to responsible lending obligations generally cannot claim that all applicants will receive credit – doing so is either non-compliant with the lending laws or otherwise misleading or deceptive.
ASIC was also concerned that the other statements made were likely to be misleading or deceptive, as Elite Mortgage Brokers could not properly substantiate the claims.
ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said, ‘All representations made in advertising of credit-related products, including representations regarding the size of a business or the nature of services provided, must be accurate and able to be substantiated to avoid consumers being misled. This extends to ensuring consumers from non-English speaking backgrounds are not misled or deceived by advertising in a foreign language.
ASIC monitors all forms of advertising and will continue to monitor advertising targeted at non-English speaking consumers. Where necessary, ASIC will take enforcement action’, Mr Kell said.