The Commerce Commission has filed civil proceedings in Auckland High Court asking the Court questions about how the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCFA) applies to consumer loans entered into with peer-to-peer lender Harmoney Ltd.
The application has been made under section 100A of the Commerce Act 1986, and is the first time such an application has been made under the section in a consumer credit case.
The Commission says that since incorporation in May 2014, Harmoney has charged borrowers a "platform fee" that is added to all loans funded through its platform. Until December 2015 it set the fee at a percentage of the amount borrowed.
The Commission says its view is that the platform fee is a credit fee under the Act, and that Harmoney is a creditor. Harmoney says it is not a creditor, and that the fee is the revenue it earns for running its loans marketplace.
"If the Court finds that 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 recently confirmed in the Supreme Court's Sportzone Motorcycles Ltd and MTF Ltd  NZSC 53 ruling."
The Commission says it is asking the Court a number of legal questions and it expects that the answers will provide more clarity about how consumer credit laws apply to loans offered by Harmoney and other peer-to-peer lenders.