The Commerce Commission says it has filed charges in the Auckland District Court against insurance firm Youi NZ Pty Ltd, alleging it employed misleading sales techniques when attempting to sell policies to consumers who were only seeking a quote.
Youi faces 15 representative charges under the Fair Trading Act 1986, relating to alleged misrepresentations made between July 2014 and February 2016.
It alleges that Youi:
- made false or misleading representations on its website regarding consumers' ability to obtain a quote online
- made false or misleading statements during telephone sales calls with consumers, including telling them bank or credit card details were required to generate a policy quote
- asserted a right to payment for unsolicited insurance policies by sending letters demanding payment and/or debiting consumers' bank or credit card accounts without their express permission or knowledge
- sent invoices to consumers in relation to unsolicited insurance policies that did not specify that the consumer was under no obligation to pay for the policies.
The Commerce Commission says Youi has co-operated with its investigation and has indicated that it intends to plead guilty to the charges.
Youi was incorporated in New Zealand on 6 June 2013 and began to operate in the New Zealand market on 28 July 2014. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Youi Holdings Pty Ltd, which in turn is a subsidiary of OUTsurance International Holdings Pty Limited – part of the Rand Merchant Insurance Holdings Group, a large international insurance provider registered in South Africa. Youi has sister insurance companies registered and operating in Australia and South Africa.