A political party has come under fire from Aussie Home Loans after using a branding similar to that of the brokerage, which the group says may confuse consumers.
On 21 December, Aussie Home Loans reportedly issued a cease and desist notice to the Affordable Housing Party, which it believes has “similar branding”.
In a statement obtained by The Adviser, Aussie Home Loans revealed that the action was triggered by a query from a social media user regarding the brokerage’s affiliation with the Affordable Housing Party.
“Aussie contacted the Affordable Housing Party after we were asked on social media if we were affiliated with the Affordable Housing Party due to the similar branding,” the statement read.
“Aussie is not affiliated with any political party and strongly believes the Affordable Housing Party’s logos and colours may also confuse others.
“The Affordable Housing Party has been engaging with us on the matter and have offered to change their logo to avoid confusion.”
However, in an email sent to its members (and released by the Macro Business blog), national convenor of the Affordable Housing Party Andrew Potts accused Aussie Home Loans of making “false statements” in the notice and emphasised that the party does not “provide services related to housing”.
“The cease and desist letter contains a large number of false statements and assumptions about the motives and creative process that went into creating our party’s logo and branding, and makes the bizarre claim that we are an organisation that provides services relating to housing [and so in some way a competitor of Aussie Home Loans] and that a reasonable person could mistake a political party for a financial service provider or vice versa,” Mr Potts said in the email.
“We are able to point-by-point refute those claims, backed up with evidence. However, we must also accept that Aussie and Commonwealth Bank have much deeper pockets than we do when it comes to making use of the courts.”
The party’s convenor also accused Aussie Home Loans of deliberately intending to “crush” their movement to prevent the party’s policy platform from reducing demand for Aussie services.
The party has now removed the original logo, but Mr Potts said that it would not sign the served notice.
Mr Potts said: “We have removed our original logo and branding for the time being to ensure that Aussie Home Loans have no reason to proceed against us in the short term, but we will not be signing the undertakings as they have been put to us unless they are presented to us in a far more neutrally worded document that does not make false claims and assumptions about our party or its office holders.”
The Adviser contacted the Affordable Housing Party for comment but has not yet received a reply.
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