better banking

Case - 50483

2016 - 2017

Lending

Property lending

Mrs B was offered a $4,000 cash incentive to take out a home loan with her bank.

Before taking out the loan, she had to sign a form agreeing to repay the cash incentive if she didn’t keep the loan with the bank for at least two years.

Mrs B sold her property a year later and the bank said she had to repay the cash incentive.  Mrs B complained to our office as she thought she only needed to repay the money if she refinanced with another bank, which had not happened.

We needed to determine whether Mrs B had reasonable grounds for her belief that she would not need to repay the money.  Mrs B and the staff member gave us different accounts of what happened before signing the acceptance form so we had to decide which was more likely.  Mrs B said the staff member read out the form in her native Mandarin and she then signed the form without reading it.  The staff member agreed that she read the form to Mrs B in Mandarin but said Mrs B took the form home to read before signing and returning it several days later.

The bank provided evidence showing that Mrs B returned the form by email several days after the meeting.  We also noted that Mrs B had four years of experience in explaining cash incentive offers so it was reasonable to believe she understood the repayment requirements. 

We considered Mrs B might have misunderstood the form, but we were not satisfied the bank gave her inaccurate information.  We also noted Mrs B had the opportunity to read the form before signing it.  We did not uphold her complaint.