Last updated: 20 December 2018
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has recently received a high number of complaints from small businesses about an agreement to rent an audio-visual screen (AV screen) from two financial firms who are AFCA members.
The AV screens were to be used to display advertisements managed by the Shoppers Network. The Shoppers Network agreed to pay the small businesses an amount equal to the rental cost of the AV screen but has now stopped trading. The small businesses do not want the AV screen rental agreement to continue.
We have established a process to manage the high number of complaints received.
We have selected a lead complaint for each of the two financial firms who are members of AFCA and started our investigation on the issues raised. Our investigation includes whether the financial firms can enforce the rental agreements against the small businesses.
An important part of any investigation undertaken by AFCA is allowing the parties involved time to be heard, and to provide relevant information to us in support of their respective positions.
In the lead complaints, we have asked the parties involved to provide all of their information to us. The information we receive will then be exchanged with the parties. AFCA will then review all of the information and make a decision on the lead complaints early in the new year.
The decision we make in the lead complaints will form the basis of our approach to the other complaints we have received about the AV screen rental agreements.
We encourage any small business with a concern about a finance agreement they entered into when dealing with the Shoppers Network to contact their financial firm first to allow the financial firm to resolve the complaint directly with them. If your small business is in financial difficulty due to any arrangement with the financial firm, the next step is to lodge a complaint with us online, via email or by telephone.