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ASIC targets brokerage over misleading advertising

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Huntley Mitchell 4 minute read

Melbourne-based firm Elite Mortgage Brokers has agreed to make changes to its website and print advertisements after ASIC raised concerns about misleading advertising written in Chinese.

ASIC said it was concerned that the statements “100 per cent success rate”, “pre-approvals within 15 minutes”, “Melbourne’s largest Chinese mortgage broker” and “matching all of the banks’ interest rates”, which were made in Chinese, were either misleading, deceptive, likely to mislead or deceive.

The advertisements were made over the period from October 2014 through to March 2015 in the Melbourne Property Weekly and on Elite Mortgage Brokers’ business website, according to the regulator.

ASIC said it was concerned that statements claiming a “100 per cent success rate” were likely to be misleading because they suggest that credit will be provided to all applicants.

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“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,” it said.

The regulator said it 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,” he said.

“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.”

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