17 Nov 2008

GE Money committed to staying in NZ, says boss

8:57 pm on 17 November 2008

Financial company GE Money says it is committed to its New Zealand business, despite a multi-million-dollar court settlement and plans to lay off 80 staff.

GE Money customers are to receive refunds following an out-of-court settlement in a case bought by the Commerce Commission against the company.

Three weeks ago, the company announced 80 staff would lose their jobs and the company would stop selling some of its loan services.

Managing director of GE Money New Zealand, Greg White, says the company has a great retail finance, insurance and personal loans business, and is here to stay.

Mr White says the company has 720 employees in New Zealand and it is looking at ways to expand into the credit card and retail deposit business.

Incorrect interest charged

The 3,660 customers bought items on interest-free terms from Noel Leeming and Bond and Bond stores between October 2005 and February 2006 but were incorrectly charged interest.

Under the promotion, customers did not have to make any payments for nearly 18 months and those who paid off their purchases early had to pay only the purchase price and credit fees without any interest.

A total of $3.1 million will be refunded to customers who were incorrectly charged interest.

One customer, who wishes to be known only as Natalia, says she was told she must repay more than double the amount she actually owed.

She says she could not get any GE Money staff to accept her complaint so she went to the commission.

Customers should know how much they will each get by the middle of December.