In December 2021, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) launched civil proceedings against a former ANZ subsidiary, superannuation trustee OnePath. The allegations levelled at OnePath include charging fees for no services rendered and making false and misleading representations to members.
More than $4 million in incorrect fees were collected by OnePath, now known as Insignia Financial Limited (IFL). This included instances where OnePath charged fund members for “financial adviser service fees”, despite the fact that they did not have financial planning advisers. OnePath sent correspondence to these fund members that instructed that they were obligated to pay these fees.
ASIC is claiming that these representations were false and misleading and that OnePath has breached its obligations to provide fair, efficient and honest financial services.
The case will proceed to the Federal Court in 2022.
False and misleading representations
Businesses are not permitted to make statements that are false or are likely to create a false impression. This applies to any statements from the business including advertising, product packaging, and information on social media platforms.
In ASIC’s action against OnePath, they allege false and misleading statements were made when OnePath told members they had to pay adviser service fees and did not advise members of their options to cancel those fees.
To protect yourself against false and misleading representations, keep alert and ask questions if you feel as though you may have been charged excessively or treated unfairly.
What to do if you think you are a victim of false and misleading representations
If you believe you may be a victim of a false and misleading representation, you have a number of options available to you.
- Contact the business or service provider – explain the problem or confusion and see whether it can be rectified.
- The ACCC – if you are unable to resolve the issue by speaking to the business, you can lodge a consumer complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
- Legal Action – independent legal advice is often important to evaluate your options and situation. In some circumstances, you may be entitled to take your complaint to the small claims court or tribunal in your state or territory.
How Etheringtons Solicitors can help
A solicitor at Etheringtons Solicitors can provide clarification of the relevant law and its relation to your individual circumstances. If you need further advice or assistance with insurance or consumer law matters, please contact one of our experienced solicitors on (02) 9963 9800 or via our contact form.