The Federal Court has ordered a $1.2 million penalty against ACBF Funeral Plans Pty Ltd (in liquidation) (ACBF) for misrepresenting the sale and promotion of funeral expense insurance to Aboriginal people.
The Court found that ACBF represented to ACF plan holders that they would receive a lump sum payment of their chosen benefit amount, when in fact they would only be reimbursed for funeral related expenses up to the benefit amount upon production of proof that those expenses had been incurred.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said, ‘ASIC took the case to Court in October 2020 because of the harm we believed this business was causing to Aboriginal people.
‘Taking regulatory action where misconduct is targeted at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a priority that we are committed to, and we will continue to work with stakeholders to achieve appropriate outcomes.’
The court did not accept ASIC’s case that ACBF had falsely represented that:
it was owned or managed by an Aboriginal person or persons,
the ACF Plan had Aboriginal community approval, or that
the ACF Plan was more beneficial to Aboriginal consumers than other funeral insurance products generally available at the time.
The court also did not accept that parent company Youpla Group was involved in the contravention by ACBF.
ASIC is carefully reviewing the judgment.