Why can’t you verify my income?

Awa applied for a credit card with the lender in August 2022. Awa submitted documents to verify his identity and income.

The lender had issues verifying Awa’s income because he had recently relocated to New Zealand. Awa was working as a contractor through a recruitment company. Awa’s recruitment company paid him monthly for the hours he worked. The lender did not accept Awa’s invoices to the recruitment company as proof of income.

The lender said they would not accept an IRD summary verifying Awa’s current-year income. Awa could not get a past earnings summary because he was not a New Zealand resident until 2022.    

The lender told Awa to provide a letter from an accountant to verify his income. In November 2022, Awa submitted an accountant’s letter that confirmed his income for the previous 7 months. The lender said they could not accept the accountant’s letter because they could not verify the accountant. The lender asked Awa to provide the accountant’s professional body membership details and a second letter showing Awa’s average monthly income. 

Awa submitted a second accountant’s letter. The lender rejected this letter as well. Awa spoke with the lender’s customer service representatives, who did not explain why the second letter was rejected. Awa asked to be referred to the lender’s internal complaints process. He was told that he had no reason to complain and was not referred.

In December 2022, Awa found details for the lender’s internal complaints process online and submitted his complaint. In January 2023, the lender responded to Awa’s complaint. The lender said Awa’s documents did not meet their requirements. Awa complained to FSCL.

Dispute

Awa said the lender’s advice was unhelpful and unclear. Awa wanted the lender to compensate him for the stress and inconvenience he experienced.   

The lender said the documents Awa provided were not sufficient to verify his income.

Review

We recommended that Awa settle his complaint. We could not consider a complaint about the lender’s commercial judgement to give Awa a credit card. However, it was our view that the lender should compensate Awa for the stress and inconvenience they caused him. 

The lender should have taken time to consider Awa’s situation and given him clear advice. The lender could have avoided this situation by helping Awa progress his application.

We requested the call recording where Awa was told he had no reason to complain. The lender did not provide it. We accepted Awa’s recollection of this conversation. The lender should have provided Awa with information about their internal complaints process when he asked.

Resolution

We decided that the lender should pay Awa $250 of non-financial compensation for stress and inconvenience. 

The lender accepted our preliminary decision.

Awa did not accept our preliminary decision. He asked us to request the missing call recordings again.  

We explained to Awa we had already accepted his recollection of his calls with the lender. Awa then accepted our decision.

Insights for participants

We encourage participants to provide clear advice to consumers. Participants must refer consumers to their internal complaints process when asked.