Adelaide-based mortgage provider Ratebusters accused website financial information provider Cannex of "deceiving" potential borrowers by not providing independent home loan rate comparisons to consumers who were directed to RateCity website which Cannex partly-owned.
Ratebusters lodged a complaint with the ACCC, condemning Cannex for directing customer enquiries to a linked site which used a home loan selection criteria process based solely on providers who paid a 'fee for clicks'.
General Manager of Ratebusters, Angela Cooney, says RateCity's rating and evaluation capacity is far from independent.
"There needs to be checks and balances that ensure the credibility of the apparent independent online comparison website," said Cooney. "Other websites promote their rating and evaluation capacity by stating 'find the best home loan' that are also purely commercial fees for clicks websites, and we believe this to be misleading."
Ratebusters argued where consumers could once conduct an unbiased comparison of home loans online, the now heavily promoted website, a major source of financial comparative information for consumers, now only provided details of companies who agreed to pay the lead generating fee. This then includes them in the comparison database that consumers can find.
Cooney said at a cost of $75 for every click, the fees are considered high compared to other websites of this nature. "Our issue is not about the money. It's about misleading clients and the public."
Cooney maintained it is easy with the online world today to get off track. "Consumers can be lead off into different directions. With this topic of home loans, we want to be careful and ensure the level of integrity is kept up."
Research conducted by McGregor Tan revealed almost 50% of the 100 people surveyed who were in search of a home loan used the internet to research home loan mortgage providers.
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