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Commission files charges against Harmoney over marketing

Media Release

Issued 1 August 2016
Release No. 8

Commission files charges against Harmoney over marketing campaign

The Commerce Commission has filed Fair Trading Act charges in the Auckland District Court against peer-to-peer lender Harmoney alleging it misled consumers into believing they had been pre-approved for a personal loan.

The six Fair Trading Act charges Harmoney faces relate to 27 versions of a pre-approval letter sent to over 500,000 New Zealanders, across a range of demographics, between October 2014 and April 2015. Each letter carried a similar message and the same misleading representations.

The Commission alleges that the letters misled recipients by representing that they had been pre-approved to borrow money from Harmoney. The letters stated that in order to find out how much money the recipient had been approved for they needed to visit Harmoney’s website.

In fact, recipients of the letter had to go through the normal application process of lodging a loan request and passing the approval process. Only at that point would their loan request be presented to potential lenders via Harmoney’s platform.

Harmoney has co-operated with the Commission’s investigation and has indicated that it intends to plead guilty to the charges.

As this matter is before the Court the Commission cannot comment further at this time.

Background
These Fair Trading Act charges are unrelated to the Commission’s CCCFA investigation in relation to Harmoney’s peer-to-peer lending transaction. The Commission intends to provide an update on this investigation shortly.

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