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Commission files proceedings against Harmoney over its platform fee

25 August 2017

The Commerce Commission has filed civil proceedings in the High Court at Auckland against peer-to-peer lender Harmoney Limited (Harmoney) and Harmoney Investor Trustee Limited (HITL).  

The Commission alleges that Harmoney and HITL have breached the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCFA) which prohibits lenders from charging unreasonable credit fees. The Commission alleges that Harmoney’s platform fee is a credit fee under the CCCFA and is unreasonable. The Commission is seeking a declaration that the companies have breached the Act, as well as orders to compensate affected borrowers.

As the case is before the Court, the Commission cannot comment further at this time. 

Background

Since its incorporation in May 2014, Harmoney has charged borrowers a ‘platform fee’ that is added to all loans funded through its platform.

In August 2016, the Commission asked the High Court at Auckland a number of legal questions to clarify how the CCCFA applies to the platform fee and to consumer loans entered into on Harmoney’s platform. In May 2017, the High Court struck out two of the Commission’s questions. The Court is due to consider arguments about the remaining three questions in October 2017.

If the Court finds the platform fee is a credit fee, the CCCFA requires the fee to be reasonable and only cover the lender’s transaction-specific costs, as confirmed in the Supreme Court’s MTF/Sportzone ruling.

The Commission filed these proceedings to ensure that if the fee is a credit fee and is unreasonable, all affected borrowers can be compensated.

A copy of the application to the Court setting out the Commission’s questions is available in the consumer credit section of our website.