The $750,000 civil penalty was handed down by the court after ASIC alleged, and GoGetta admitted, that it had contravened the National Credit Act on several occasions between 30 April 2015 and 21 December 2016.
The court heard that GoGetta – a subsidiary of business equipment finance company SIV Capital Ltd (formerly Silver Chef Ltd) which is currently in the process of shuttering operations – had entered into rental agreements with 10 consumers who hired motor vehicles wholly or predominantly for a personal, domestic or household purpose, and charged fees and other payments to them on 295 occasions.
According to the court, these rental agreements constituted consumer leases. However, as GoGetta did not hold an Australian Credit Licence allowing it to enter into consumer leases or charge fees, the court found that GoGetta had contravened sections 29 and 32 of the National Credit Act.
Justice Davies commented: “The contravening conduct in this case was serious. The contraventions are properly characterised as arising from a systemic failure by GoGetta from the outset to have an effective process for verifying business use in the conduct of its commercial rental business.”
She also noted that GoGetta only took steps to address the issue when ASIC took action and notified GoGetta of its investigation in 2017 but had reportedly been aware of the possibility that it was contravening the National Credit Act by leasing to consumers without a licence in 2016.
Noting the court’s ruling in favour of ASIC, ASIC commissioner Danielle Press said: “ASIC commenced this action because it considered that the contraventions by GoGetta, while not deliberate, were serious, due to GoGetta’s failure to have appropriate systems in place to ensure that they did not lease to consumers.
“All firms conducting a consumer leasing or rent-to-buy business must ensure they have the appropriate authorisations from ASIC, and the systems, governance and controls in place to ensure they comply with the law and provide the required consumer protections to their customers,” Ms Press said.
GoGetta ceased accepting applications for motor vehicle leases from 6 October 2017 and has not entered into any new motor vehicle leases from 28 February 2018.
Indeed, in February 2018, SIV Capital announced its decision to exit its entire GoGetta asset financing business and to run down the GoGetta business.
As of 7 April 2021, the company has remediated consumers by providing over $9.1 million in refunds, write-offs and interest waivers.
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Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.