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Kiwibank win - a small victory for consumers

Wizard’s Kiwibank win - a small victory for consumers

“Today’s Commerce Commission’s finding that a Kiwibank advertising campaign was liable to mislead consumers is only a partial victory for the home buyer,” said John Grant, Head of Wizard in New Zealand.

In September last year Wizard complained to the Commerce Commission about Kiwibank’s campaign promoting a guarantee for cheaper home loans.

John Grant said that while he was pleased the Commerce Commission had agreed with Wizard’s complaint and found against Kiwibank, a real consumer victory would have been a recommendation to withdraw the ad, rather than recommending some rule changes.

“The average home buyer is highly unlikely to challenge Kiwibank’s guarantee because it would be next to impossible to work out the real rates across all the banks in order to claim the promise of cash to better the difference,” said Grant.

“We see this as a small victory in our bigger consumer advocacy war. In a year when home affordability for the first time buyer has dropped by up to 25% it’s critical to have complete transparency in the home loan sector. I don’t believe this style of advertising can claim to be transparent or in fact really fair to the New Zealand consumer.

“In Australia, Wizard has displayed a consistent commitment to fighting for consumer rights in the home loan sector. The New Zealand market still has a long way to go in terms of transparency so we will remain on alert,” John Grant said.

Wizard has 14 branches in New Zealand that cover most of the country. There are 7 in Auckland, 1 each in Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington and 2 in Christchurch. New branches also planned for 2003 that will see 20 branches in the country by the end of the year.

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