Shopping trucks

An unusual aspect of finance in New Zealand is that you’ll occasionally see a “shopping truck” around the place. These pull up at your house, and let you buy various household, electrical, and furniture items immediately.

What I didn’t realise at first is that they do this on credit—often very expensive credit. They prey on the poor by providing the transport and immediacy poorer people often need, at appalling financial cost.

New Zealand’s Commerce Commission has fined two of these companies a total of $171,500:

For example, Goodring has been selling branded hoodies to customers for $159, well in excess of in-store prices, and one Betterlife customer purchased an iPhone 5C for $2,401 to pay off in instalments when these phones typically retail for around $600.

Six companies have been fined so far this year.

Along similar lines, a payday lender, Twenty Fifty Club, has been convicted for failings in their lending practices.

Both of these decisions make me proud to live in a civilised society where unethical lending practices are dealt with, and vulnerable people are protected.