GE Money, the consumer finance company ultimately owned by General Electric, will make a $60,000 donation to the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services after admitting to a breach of the Fair Trading Act.
The Commerce Commission found GE's direct mail, print and radio advertising campaign inviting consumers, consolidating their loans into one new loan to be repaid over a longer period of time, engaged in misleading conduct and made false representations.
"Analysis of the finances of the real-life customer used in print advertising showed that while monthly payments were initially reduced, they were substantially higher than the original loan repayments for the majority of the 60 month loan periods," said Graham Gill, competition manager at the commission.
GE admitted to the breach after it was unable to supply the commission with evidence customers were substantially better off taking up the loan offer, Gill said.
"GE cooperated fully with us, promptly recognised its wrongdoing and reached a satisfactory settlement," he said.
Both parties agreed the Federation was an appropriate organisation to receive the donation.