Summit Square up vs Lewis at the National Consumer Tribunal
When Summit conducted a series of high profile investigations into Lewis Group’s lending practices it gained a lot of coverage in the media. Summit then referred the matter to the National Credit Regulator (NCR) for investigation.
That was back in 2016. Now, nearly 2 years later, Summit have been given permission by the NCT to bring an application before them over Lewis’s way of doing business (back in 2016. Things have since changed somewhat).
Why so Long?
During the 14 months that Summit waited to hear from the NCR if the matter would be taken further, additional information was submitted to the NCR about the complaint. The NCR says that this brought about the need for more time to consider the matter fully. Finally, after 14 months the NCR told Summit that they were not going to send the matter on to the Tribunal as they felt that Lewis had not breached the National Credit Act.
The complaint centred around, among other things, Lewis requiring that consumer make use of a first-time delivery service (that way they can check where you live…or at least have the goods sent to). Since a fee is involved and it is compulsory, Summit feels that this is a fee not allowed for under the NCA and regulations. Lewis and the NCR disagree.
‘Finally, after 14 months the NCR told Summit that they were not going to send the matter on to the Tribunal’
If someone refers a matter to the NCR (a complaint) then the NCR are required by the National Credit Act to either (1) take the matter to the NCT or other responsible body or (2) to issue the complainant with a letter of non-referral.
If the complainant is not happy with this, they are allowed to, by law, apply directly to the NCT for leave to hear the matter. This is the case, even if the person doing the complaining is not the direct party affected by the matter. This means a 3rd party can apply on behalf of others and the matter will be heard if the NCT think it is worth hearing.
‘they are allowed to, by law, apply directly to the NCT for leave to hear the matter’
This is what has happened in this case. Long after the media furore has died down and the dust has settled and Lewis no doubt felt relieved that the matter was dealt with, Summit has now been given NCT permission to have their application heard.
Round 2 – Ding Ding
The NCR are not opposing the application and are happy to let the two parties hammer it out before the tribunal. The NCT will now consider the accusations and identify if there has been any breach of the NCA or not.