A national debt management firm has been fined for what regulators claimed were “potentially misleading” claims in some of its advertising.
Fox Symes and Associates was pinged by ASIC for claiming in online ads and on its website that it offered “free debt assistance”, “15 second approval” and “reduce debt in minutes”.
ASIC claimed such suggestions amounted to misleading advertising, and misrepresented the actual cost and speed of providing its services.
“Debt management firms are often engaging with particularly vulnerable consumers who are seeking assistance with their debts. They should be careful not to misrepresent their services using high impact terms like ‘free’, ‘minutes’ and ‘seconds’ suggesting that debt assistance will be quick and at no cost’,” ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said.
The company was issued penalties totalling $37,800, after three infringement notices were issued, each attracting a penalty of $12,600.
On its website, Fox Symes claims to help more than 100,000 Australians annual with debt issues. The firm offers a range of services, including personal insolvency and bankruptcy assistance, mortgage refinancing, debt consolidation and loan assistance.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.