Lenders prosecuted after illegally repossessing homes
Two companies who illegally repossessed homes while calling in debts have been found guilty of more than 100 charges between them.
The Commerce Commission brought charges against Budget Loans Limited and Evolution Finance Limited after 21 borrowers were misled about their consumer rights.
In Auckland District Court it was said the companies repossessed or threatened to repossess borrowers' homes when they didn't have that right, and unlawfully added interests and costs to loan balances after the repossessed property was sold.
The companies also told debtors they had to repay loans at a higher rate than set by the court as well as shortened the loan period.
Directors of both companies, Allan Hawkins and Wayne Hawkins, were caught out when budget advisers and community lawyers alerted authorities, commission chairman Mark Berry said.
"The guilty verdict is pleasing and the public can be assured that tackling unlawful repossession activities remains a high priority for us in our work enforcing credit and consumer laws," he said.
Initially 125 charges were filed against the companies, but the defendants sought to have 122 of those dismissed and were successful with 19.
The Commission is now seeking to have those charges reinstated.