Commonwealth Bank of Australia admits to consumer protection violations
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has said that it will not be contesting two lawsuits brought against it by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) regarding consumer protection breaches.
The alleged misconduct regards the bank’s AgriAdvantage Plus package, through which consumers were overcharged fees and not provided the benefits owed to them between 2005 and 2015.
“We discovered this issue and then reported it to ASIC in July 2014 and commenced an extensive review that identified the significance of this issue in September 2014,” says Matt Comyn, CEO of the bank.
“At that time, we immediately withdrew the AgriAdvantage Plus package from sale to new customers and closed the package for existing customers at the end of 2015.”
ASIC alleges that from May 2005 to 31 December 2015, on 7,077 occasions, CBA represented to 13,063 customers that it had adequate systems and processes in place to ensure customers would receive their benefits.
ASIC will be seeking a total civil penalty of up to AUD 5 million, though the figure may be subject to change following CBA’s acknowledgement of the lawsuit.
“We apologise to those customers who at the time didn’t receive their AgriAdvantage Plus package benefits or were overcharged fees,” adds Comyn.
“Failures of this sort are unacceptable.”