In September 2020, law firm Slater & Gordon commenced legal proceedings against Westpac customers who were sold worthless consumer credit insurances with their Westpac credit card, flexi loan or personal loan.
The class action is based on allegations that the Respondents used misleading and deceptive conduct; led customers to make payments based on the belief they were not optional or provided value; engaged in unconscionable conduct; and unlawfully provided personal advice to customers who purchased the policies.
Some of the consumer credit insurances sold to Westpac customers include:
You may be a class member if at any time since 1 January 2010, you:
In 2018, The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry revealed that Australia’s big four banks had been ripping off customers by selling unnecessary and worthless insurance products attached to loans and credit cards.
Law firms are now investigating potential class actions against insurance companies on behalf of customers who paid for “add-on” insurance products when purchasing a motor vehicle, loan, or credit card.
These products are also referred to as “junk insurance”.
A class action is type of legal proceeding in which a person (the applicant or plaintiff) brings a claim on behalf of a wider group of people against a respondent.
Consumers may be able to receive a better refund by opting out of the class action and using Claimo instead or pursuing the refund themselves through the firms dispute resolution channel.
Based on previous class actions for junk insurance, members received significantly less than they were charged. For example, Swann Insurance recently settled a junk insurance class action for $138 Million, however the total charges were around $1 Billion. Legal fees are being deducted from the settlement amount, which means members may receive one tenth of what they were charged.
By pursuing a refund independently, you can pursue a full refund (plus interest charges) whereas the class action generally agrees on an amount which is divided amongst members.
Class Actions can also take up to three years to settle.
Australian Class Actions use an opt-out model. This means that all people affected by the event or circumstance become members of the class action whether they intended to or not.
These members are legally bound by the decision of the court or settlement unless they opt-out of the proceedings.
Thousands of members do not receive their opt-notice because they have changed addresses and do not register for compensation in time which means they are unable to get a refund on junk insurance
If you do not wish to participate in the Westpac CCI class action, you will need to take steps to remove yourself from the proceeding (known as “opting out”) before 4.00pm AEDT on 11 January 2021 (Opt Out Deadline).
If you opt out, you will need to complete an opt out form and send it to the Supreme or Federal Court who is dealing with the class action.
If you ‘opt out’ of a class action, you remove yourself from a claim entirely. This means you will not be affected by the outcome of a class action at all and will be able to pursue your own individual claim for the same issues separately if you wish to.
If you wish to opt out of the class action, you can use the opt out notice and return it to:
Federal Court of Australia
Victoria District Registry
Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts Building
305 William Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
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