The Commerce Commission has filed charges against mobile trader Zee Shop, its first prosecution of a company that wasn't captured in the regulator's year-long investigation into so-called truck shops.
The commission has brought 15 charges against the Auckland-based truck shop under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act in the Auckland District Court, it said in a statement. The regulator says Zee Shop didn't provide its customers with the legally required key information because it didn't state the amount of each payment, when the first payment under the contract was due, and the frequency with which debtors would be required to make payments.
"The commission also alleges that information contained in Zee Shop's contract document was difficult to read and understand, and key information was obscured," it said. "The terms and conditions were in two condensed columns with no headings, in a poor layout and format and with grammar that made some of the clauses incomprehensible."
The regulator published a report on the mobile trader sector in August last year after a year-long investigation found 31 of 32 firms didn't meet their legal obligations. Since then, seven mobile traders have been prosecuted, three of which have been fined and two more having pleaded guilty. One other has appeared in court facing 21 charges and the seventh has yet to make an appearance in court.
Zee Shop is the first mobile trader prosecuted that wasn't part of the initial investigation.
The regulator said it became aware of the truck shop's conduct after meeting with the company in November last year after the report had been published.