Calls For More Regulation Of 'Buy Now, Pay Later' Schemes As Service Offered In Cosmetic Clinics

Crackdown.

Calls For More Regulation Of 'Buy Now, Pay Later' Schemes As Service Offered In Cosmetic Clinics

There are calls for a crackdown on cosmetic clinics using 'buy now, pay later' schemes to encourage customers to undergo procedures, with experts warning of the crippling effect these credit systems can have on those struggling with finances.

Providers such as Zip Pay have started to emerge within the cosmetic clinic sphere, allowing women to access procedures but put off payment.

However, these 'buy now, pay later' services don't operate under the same rules as normal credit providers.

"'Buy now, pay later' providers like Zip Pay are exploiting a loophole in our national credit laws, which means that they're not complying with responsible lending obligations," senior policy adviser at the Consumer Action Law Centre Katherine Temple told Hit.

"Our core concern is that people are going to end up with more debt than they can handle.

"Easy credit should not be used to trivialise serious decisions, particularly where it involves someone's health.

"I am concerned that 'buy now, pay later' services are targeting young women and setting them up to fail financially.

"These kinds of services are a ticking timebomb when it comes to debt and people may be paying the price for years to come."

As online shopping continues to thrive in this world of deferred payment, it is easy for shoppers to accrue large debts - and fast.

It all comes down to the fine print, with fees and charges becoming the undoing of many women because they as customers have stretched themselves beyond their financial means.

"Buy now, pay later providers are not subject to the same kind of regulation that other providers are because of the way that they structure their fees and charges," Ms Temple said.

"This gives them an unfair advantage over other credit providers, but it also means that they're not complying with really important laws around responsible lending and affordability checks, and also dispute resolution.

"So when something goes wrong, it's a lot harder to work things out."

There are calls for the government to close the loophole in regulation, as national credit laws were designed in a time prior to these payment services.

"We are getting more and more calls about 'buy now, pay later' and that includes Afterpay and Zip Pay," Ms Temple said.

"It's being used for all kinds of products - from flights to food to clothes.

"While it's a good thing that Afterpay is not using their product for cosmetic procedures, we think there's a lot of work for them to do as well in making sure that their product isn't causing harm to people."

Anyone struggling with debt or keeping up with their payments is encouraged to get in touch with the National Debt Helpline, who provide free and independent advice on dealing with debt.

You can reach them on 1800 007 007.

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