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(Finalists for the 2016 National Pacific Business Awards)

By Loabay Admin1, May 29 2018 11:27PM

One of the world's most recognisable brands has been ticked off by the Commerce Commission after it likely misled customers.

Photo : Image file
Photo : Image file

The Commission sent a warning letter to Apple, after an investigation found that the company had probably breached the Fair Trading Act.

Apple did that by telling customers that products were only covered by a guarantee for two years, by referring them exclusively to the manufacturer of non-Apple branded products and excluding Apple's liability for those products.

Commissioner Anna Rawlings said under the Consumer Guarantees Act, guarantees did not expire after a prescribed period of time.

"They apply for a reasonable period. What is reasonable depends on the nature of the goods, any statements made about the goods and how the consumer, in fact, uses the goods," she said.

"Although businesses may form a view about how long a product should generally last, they must assess each reported fault on its own merits. They should not base decisions solely on how long a consumer has owned a product. The reasonable lifespan of a product will depend very much on what the product is."

The Commission also said Apple was responsible, as a retailer, for all products it sold, even if it wasn't the manufacturer.

"It is natural that many retailers may wish to liaise with manufacturers to assess and remedy product defects, but they must not point blank refuse to address consumer complaints and refer consumers exclusively to manufacturers for attention," Ms Rawlings said.

The Commission also warned Apple in relation to:

* Telling consumers that they must accept a defined number of replacement goods before an alternative remedy would be made available when the law imposes no such limits on available remedies.

* Excluding liability for consequential losses when consumers might be entitled to compensation for some losses of that kind under the law, depending on the circumstances.

* Providing conflicting information on Apple's website about whether spare parts and repairs would, or would not, be available for some products.

* Leading consumers to believe that their faulty Apple products were being replaced with new products when they were in fact supplied with re-manufactured products.

Source : Radio NZ

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By Loabay Admin1, May 29 2018 11:24PM

Spark will advertise to track down people who are due a refund.
Spark will advertise to track down people who are due a refund.

Spark will try and pay refunds to 135,000 former customers who left the company over the past seven years, in a move that may take the sting out of a Commerce Commission investigation.

It is believed Spark hopes to refund more than $1 million, with credits ranging from a few cents to – in a small number of cases – more than $100.

The former customers who are due refunds are mostly understood to be "on account" mobile or fixed-line customers who either had their final bills miscalculated or who overpaid them.

Spark home, mobile and business manager Grant McBeath said there were a variety of reason for the credits.

"Some customers didn't cancel an automatic payment before leaving or mistakenly paid their final bill twice."

But in other cases, former Spark customers were left in credit because of the way their final bill was calculated, he admitted.

"In some cases, a refund from a billing error on Spark's part was discovered after customers had left Spark.

"Whatever the reason, the credit remains on these old accounts and we want to give the money back."

Spark spokeswoman Ellie Cross confirmed the Commerce Commission was investigating the existence of some of the credits but said most were not caused by Spark errors.

"Spark is in discussions with the Commerce Commission about a billing system issue and two operational issues that relate to a small proportion of the outstanding credits," the company said in a statement.

The company hoped the refunds would create "goodwill" with the market watchdog as its investigation progressed, Cross said.

Spark will send emails or letters to the 135,000 customers to advise them they can claim a refund and would also be launching a "public campaign" to try to track down those whose contact details may have changed.

Customers with a credit could choose to have their money credited to their bank account, transferred to a different Spark account, or donated to one of the "worthy causes" at its Spark Foundation charitable arm, the company said.

If the credit is unclaimed in seven years, balances over $100 are transferred to the IRD. However, the customer can claim the money at any point in the future, regardless of whether it has been transferred to the IRD.

Source : Stuff NZ

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By Loabay Admin1, May 29 2018 11:19PM

Anti-money laundering rules are almost completely ineffective in stopping criminals, according to a new study.

Stock photo. Photo: 123rf.com
Stock photo. Photo: 123rf.com

The findings from New Zealand political scientist Ron Pol, published in the Journal of Financial Crime, found authorities globally recover just 0.2 percent annually of an estimated $US2 trillion in criminal funds.

New Zealand fared slightly better, collecting about 1 percent of the estimated $6 to $8 billion in ill-gotten gains.

"The disruption of criminal funds scarcely has the impact of a rounding error in the accounts of Criminals Inc," Dr Pol said.

Successive New Zealand governments have toughened up rules as part of global efforts to combat money laundering linked to drugs, arms, human trafficking, high level corruption, fraud and tax evasion.

Banks and other financial firms must verify their client's identity and report suspicious transactions, but Dr Pol said it was little more than a ticking the box exercise.

"What we tend to be doing in most countries is putting in place a compliance framework that proves firms can comply with a whole set of rules," Dr Pol said.

"Those rules aren't necessarily having the desired outcome."

The rules will be extended to professions such as lawyers, accountants and real estate agents from July.

But Dr Pol doubted that will make much difference in "closing loopholes" that criminals exploit.

He said his research showed no material difference in intercepting criminal finances between countries that already had money laundering controls over these professions, such as Britain, and those that did not, like Australia.

"The industry does not critically test the assumptions. It keeps putting out more and more rules without asking 'are these rules working?'" Dr Pol said.

Transparency International chief executive Suzanne Snively said it was unrealistic to think tougher rules would stop criminals outright.

The changes had at least raised awareness about corruption, Ms Snively said.

"It's the integrity systems and the culture of companies which ultimately make a difference.

"It's by changing those things and working with people to do the right thing that we're ultimately going to prevent and protect ourselves against corrupt behaviour."

A leading lawyer in anti-money laundering and financial regulation, Gary Hughes, agreed, adding the tougher rules had prompted greater vigilance among banks and other financial organisations.

"That's probably turning up much better intelligence or more reporting and data coming into the police units," Mr Hughes said.

"And overall it's certainly benefited our international reputation to clean up this area."

But Mr Hughes warned the cost of complying was high, particularly for smaller firms.

A Ministry of Justice regulatory impact statement estimated the total cost of extending the rules to lawyers, accountants and real estate agents ranged from start-up costs of $72 million to $313m, and yearly running costs of $64m to $223m.

"What we've got is something that doesn't work very well for say a small remittance business or a finance company," Mr Hughes said.

"They are given some hefty obligations to comply with, and the cost is disproportionate at that level."

Dr Pol suggested the government find out how the laundering actually happens, and set the rules based on those findings.

Otherwise criminals would continue to get away with it "virtually unhindered".

Source : Radio NZ

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By Loabay Admin1, May 29 2018 11:10PM

Christchurch Police investigating a dairy robbery this morning are seeking help from the public to identify the men, pictured.

Photo 1 :Christchurch Police
Photo 1 :Christchurch Police
Photo 2 :Christchurch Police
Photo 2 :Christchurch Police
Photo 3 :Christchurch Police
Photo 3 :Christchurch Police
Photo 4 Credit :Christchurch Police
Photo 4 Credit :Christchurch Police
Photo5 Credit :Christchurch Police
Photo5 Credit :Christchurch Police
Photo6 Credit : Christchurch Police
Photo6 Credit : Christchurch Police

Three people entered Jenny's Dairy on Bowhill Road, New Brighton, yesterday morning about 8.20am.

They stole lighters and cigarette filters before fleeing the scene in a black Subaru Impreza (also pictured), registration JLP722.

The same car and group of people were also involved in an attempted burglary at New World on Ferry Road about earlier on yesterday morning , about 4:15am.

Christchurch Police are seeking any information from the public which will help identify the people in the photographs, or any information which may assist Police in our inquiries.

Information can be passed to Christchurch Police on (03) 363 7400, or alternatively, anonymous information can be given to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Source : Police Media Centre/Release

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By Loabay Admin1, May 29 2018 10:48PM

The government is under pressure to move quickly to let beneficiaries earn more money without being penalised.

People on the jobseeker benefit can earn up to $80 a week after which they
People on the jobseeker benefit can earn up to $80 a week after which they

People on the jobseeker benefit can earn up to $80 a week after which they are docked at a rate of 70 cents for every dollar earned. [Photo: Media file]

Parts of the welfare system have not been updated, with some abatement and eligibility thresholds still at the same levels they were 20 to 30 years ago.

The threshold for how much someone on the jobseeker benefit can earn before their pay is docked has not changed since 1996, while the cash asset levels to claim the accommodation supplement have not shifted since 1988.

Heavenly, who is on the jobseeker benefit and lives in Auckland, said it was tough trying to make ends meet on $290 a week.

"It's hard ... and you don't get much. You're living with what you have to pay for, which is your bedroom you know, food, clothes."

Under the current rules - set in 1996 - people on the jobseeker benefit can earn up to $80 a week.

If they earn more than $80, they are docked at a rate of 70 cents for every dollar earned. Heavenly said the government needs to change that, so young beneficiaries like her can get some experience in employment.

She said young people could not get a foot in the door.

"The government is just you know ... chucking them to the side."

Alan Johnson from the Salvation Army said the abatement threshold acts as a disincentive to work.

Losing 70 cents in every dollar earned, plus costs paying for transport or childcare, meant in some cases it was more costly to go to work than not, he said.

Mr Johnson said the process to get the accommodation supplement could also put people off and the number of people working who received the supplement had slowly fallen.

Andrew Becroft said the rules were frozen in time and it was shocking for p
Andrew Becroft said the rules were frozen in time and it was shocking for p

Andrew Becroft said the rules were frozen in time and it was shocking for people genuinely trying to get themselves out of hardship. [ Photo: RNZ]

Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft said the rules were not helping families trying to get out of poverty.

"We've frozen this in time. I think it's shocking for those who are genuinely trying to get themselves out of hardship and to get a job.

"I think we need to be encouraging them at at least the relative levels that were in place in 1996. To think it hasn't changed in 22 years, it just shows how out of touch the current levels are."

Meanwhile, cash asset levels for working people trying to get the accommodation supplement have not changed since 1988.

Non-beneficiaries can get the full amount only if they have less than $2700 in cash if they are single, or $5400 if they're a couple.

Mr Becroft said that locks out people who might be genuinely saving for a house, but still need a bit of help with their housing costs in the interim.

He said the system was utterly out of kilter and it was one of the reasons people were unable to afford a home and forced to keep renting.

Earlier this week, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced the formation of an expert advisory group to review the welfare system.

It will report back to the government in February next year.

Ms Sepuloni said the government may look at making changes in some areas, including abatement thresholds, sooner than that.

Source : Radio NZ

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