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«COMMERCIAL RADIO INQUIRY Report of the Australian Broadcasting Authority Hearing into Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Limited February 2000 Sydney ISBN 0 642 ...»

-- [ Page 61 ] --

BANK FEES Material Provided to Mr Laws The following live read script, dated 2 July 1998 and entitled ‘Bank fees’, was provided to

Mr Laws by RAMS:

How would you like to earn a billion dollars a year? How about three and a half billion? It’s a lot of money isn’t it? That’s what our big four banks have earned in fees from you … $3 and a half billion. But that’s not in one year, that’s in 6 months!

Now I’ll read to you what Mara Bun from the Australian Consumers Association thinks about this, she doesn’t like it … she says: ‘If banking is an essential service, and fees are structured to delivery higher profits, what obligation does the Federal Government have to monitor fees?’ Well I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you what their attitude is, I don’t know about their obligations … their attitude is – ‘it’s open slather … go for it, boys! … gouge away with fees as much as you RAMS.0002.0216 RAMS.0002.0216 like, we won’t stop you – we won’t even monitor your fees.’ That’s what the government’s doing – Sweet … nothing … Meanwhile the banks get richer and richer … on your money.

My advice is to use the banks cleverly. Beat them at their own game. Organise your affairs so you don’t get hit with a big fee every time.

And another way to avoid fees is to talk to RAMS about a home loan. They’re not a bank.

They don’t charge you any monthly fees, which makes a big difference over the life of your home loan. Some fees and charges are payable, but you compare RAMS with anyone, they’re happy for you to do it…ring around and compare their terms with anyone. They’ve also got free insurance offers from QBE and other offers to make it easier for you.

It’s all about giving you the best imaginable home loan experience. And if that’s what you want, and you want to stop paying some of those big bank fees, the only place you’ll get it is at RAMS. 1 800 069 070. RAMS Home Loans.1068 Material Broadcast by Mr Laws

On 8 July 1998 Mr Laws broadcast the following:

How would you like to earn a billion dollars a year? Yeah, you heard me, a billion dollars a year. What about three and a half billion then? A lot of money isn’t? That’s what our big four banks have earned in fees from you people. Three and a half billion dollars. But that’s not in one year, that’s just six months. True.

Now I’ll read you what Mara Bun from the Australian Consumers Association thinks about all this. She doesn’t like it, she says. I’m quoting here - because somebody sent it to me - from

The Sydney Morning Herald 1.6.98. This is what she says:

‘If banking is an essential service and fees are structured to deliver higher profits, what obligation does the Federal Government have to monitor the fees?’ Well, I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you what their attitude is. I don’t know about their obligations but their attitude is it’s open slather, go for it. Gouge away with fees as much as you like, we’re not going to stop you, we won’t even monitor your fees. That’s what the government is doing. Sweet nothing.

Meanwhile the banks get richer and richer and richer on your money.

Maybe my advice is to use the banks cleverly, beat them at their own game. Organise your affairs so you don’t get hit with a big fee every time. And if you want to borrow money to build a house or buy a house go talk to RAMS, leave the bank out of the equation totally. Talk to RAMS they’re not a bank. No, they don’t charge you any monthly fees. It makes a very big difference over the life of your home loan let me tell you.

Some fees and some charges payable of course when you get the loan but you compare RAMS with anybody, they’re happy for you to do it. Ring around and compare their terms with anybody else’s, they don’t mind. But they also give you free insurance offers from QBE and other offers to make it easier for you.

You see what they intend to do and what they achieve, is to give you the best imaginable home loan experience. And if that’s what you want and you want to stop paying some of those big bank fees, then the only place that you need to go is to RAMS. It’s very simple. I’ll give you their telephone number and you give them a call. 1800 069 070. They will give you, I promise you, they will give you the best imaginable home loan experience. 1800 069 070.1069

–  –  –

2UE’s Submissions to the Hearing In addition to the general submissions made by Mr Laws, Mr Laws made the following

submissions in relation to this broadcast:

The broadcast, if it occurred, is a paid advertisement. Code of Practice 2 does not apply to paid advertising.1070 The Panel’s Findings The Panel notes 2UE’s submission that this broadcast is a paid advertisement. However, the Panel does not accept 2UE’s submission that code 2 does not apply to advertising. Code 2 is intended to apply to news and current affairs programs. In this regard, the Panel notes clause 3.1(b), which provides that advertising programs must comply with all other relevant codes of practice. The Panel also notes in this regard its concern that advertising not be presented as news programs or other programs, as this would be a breach of clause 3.1(a).

The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It purports to concern matters focussing on social, political and economic issues of relevance to the community, namely bank fees and the profits earned by the banks.





The Panel finds that the available fact of Mr Laws’ commercial agreement with RAMS was withheld. The existence of Mr Laws’ agreement with RAMS was not disclosed in the broadcast.

The Panel finds the available fact was relevant because:

♦ the broadcast was critical of the banks. Mr Laws states ‘Meanwhile the banks get richer and richer and richer on your money’;1071 ♦ the broadcast was favourable to RAMS. Mr Laws states ‘the only place that you need to go is to RAMS. It’s very simple. I’ll give you their telephone number and you give them a call … They will give you, I promise you, they will give you the best imaginable home loan experience’;1072 and ♦ Mr Laws was required to rely on the script provided to him by RAMS.

The Panel finds that, in the presentation of a current affairs program, Mr Laws presented material in a misleading manner by withholding a relevant available fact, namely the existence of a commercial relationship between himself and RAMS.

The Panel finds 2UE to be in breach of clause 2.2(d) of the Codes.

Submission made by 2UE - John Laws Broadcasts - Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, H10 RAMS.0001.0069_01 RAMS.0001.0069_01

COMMONWEALTH BANK

Material Provided to Mr Laws The following live read script, dated 13 August 1998 and entitled ‘Com bank #1’, was

provided to Mr laws by RAMS:

I see the Commonwealth bank has managed to achieve another big profit, over a billion dollars…again! And in the Sydney daily Telegraph last week, you read the headline that it’s ‘soaring fees’,…soaring bank fees that helped them do it.

Fees and commissions alone earned the bank 1.2 billion dollars. That’s a lot of fees. My word it is. Did you, by any stretch of the imagination, get 1.2 billion dollars worth of services back?

The bank also closed 116 branches, so I guess the people who live in those 116 suburbs and country towns that lost their branches, they might say they got far worse service for their money. And yet again, there we have the head of the bank saying, well, a good year, but its going to be tougher to make another big profit next year. Remarkable how they always seem to manage it isn’t it?

There is something you can do if you don’t like the banks’ attitude. You can talk to RAMS about a home loan. When you call up RAMS and they come out to see you, they’ll tell you that RAMS charges no monthly fees. Interesting isn’t it? RAMS charges no monthly fees. They have a lower rate than the standard variable rates of the big four banks. And no monthly fees.

You see, RAMS isn’t a bank. It’s a whole new way of getting a home loan. They looked at the old way of doing things and decided to do it better. They’re happy for you to compare their fees and charges, compare their terms with anyone. Compare their attitude too … the way they look after you during the loan process. You won’t do better I can tell you. Because RAMS aims to give you the best imaginable home loans experience. 1 800 069 070. If you want a better home loan, just call RAMS.1073 Material Broadcast by Mr Laws

On 13 August 1998 Mr Laws broadcast the following:

I see the Commonwealth Bank has managed to achieve another big profit, over a $1 billion.

She’ll hate them for that too, I suppose. A lot of people will hate them for it.

In the Daily Telegraph last week, you read the headline that soaring fees, soaring bank fees, that helped them do it. Fees and commissions alone earned the bank $1.2 billion. It’s a lot of fees, isn’t it. $1.2 billion fees and commissions alone. Wow. Did you by any stretch of the imagination get $1.2 billion of service back from your bank?

The bank also closed 116 branches, so I guess people who live in these 116 suburbs and country towns that lost their branches, they might say that they didn’t get very good service at all, and yet again, we have the head of the bank saying, well good year.

Though it’s going to be tougher to make another big profit next year. Remarkable how they always seem to manage that isn’t it? I mean there’s something you can do about it if you don’t like the bank’s attitude. You can have a talk to RAMS about a home loan, and when you call up RAMS and they come out to see you, they will tell you that RAMS charges no monthly RAMS.0001.0105 fees. Now that’s very interesting. They don’t charge any monthly fees and yet the bank made $1.2 billion in commissions and fees. $1.2 billion.

RAMS don’t charge any monthly fees, you seem RAMS isn’t a bank. It’s a whole new way of getting a home loan. They looked at the old way of doing things and decided to do it better.

They’re happy you for you to compare the prices and the charges, compare their terms with everybody, compare their attitude too. The way they look after you during the loan process.

You won’t do better, I can tell you, because RAMS aims to give you the best imaginable home loan experience. 1800 069 070, 1800 069 070, that’s who you call, RAMS, that’s if you want a better home loan.1074 2UE’s Submissions to the Hearing In addition to the general submissions made by Mr Laws, Mr Laws made the following

submissions in relation to this broadcast:

The broadcast, if it occurred, is a paid advertisement. Code of Practice 2 does not apply to paid advertising.1075 The Panel’s Findings The Panel notes 2UE’s submission that this broadcast is a paid advertisement. However, the Panel does not accept 2UE’s submission that code 2 does not apply to advertising. Code 2 is intended to apply to news and current affairs programs. In this regard, the Panel notes clause 3.1(b), which provides that advertising programs must comply with all other relevant codes of practice. The Panel also notes in this regard its concern that advertising not be presented as news programs or other programs, as this would be a breach of clause 3.1(a).

The Panel finds that this broadcast is a current affairs program. It purports to concern matters focussing on social and economic issues of relevance to the community, namely bank fees, bank closures and the profits earned by the banks.

The Panel finds that the available fact of Mr Laws’ commercial agreement with RAMS was withheld. The existence of Mr Laws’ agreement with RAMS was not disclosed in the broadcast.

The Panel finds the available fact was relevant because:

♦ the broadcast was critical of the banks. Mr Laws states ‘The bank also closed 116 branches, so I guess people who live in these 116 suburbs and country towns that lost their branches, they might say that they didn’t get very good service at all, and yet again, we have the head of the bank saying, well good year’;1076 ♦ the broadcast was favourable to RAMS. Mr Laws states ‘You see, RAMS isn’t a bank.

It’s a whole new way of getting a home loan. They looked at the old way of doing things and decided to do it better’;1077 and ♦ Mr Laws was required to rely on the script provided to him by RAMS.

RAMS.0001.0105_01 Submission made by 2UE - John Laws Broadcasts - Breach of Clause 2.2(d) of Code of Practice 2, H11 RAMS.0001.0105_01 RAMS.0001.0105_01 The Panel finds that, in the presentation of a current affairs program, Mr Laws presented material in a misleading manner by withholding a relevant available fact, namely the existence of a commercial relationship between himself and RAMS.

The Panel finds 2UE to be in breach of clause 2.2(d) of the Codes.

Schedule 13: Conduct on the Alan Jones Breakfast Show Involving Breaches Of Clause 3.1(a) of the Codes By Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Limited Colonial State Bank

ROCKDALE COUNCIL EDUCATING THE ELDERLY IN THE

USE OF ELECTRONIC BANKING

Material Provided to Mr Jones A press release was sent to Mr Jones on 2 December 1998 from Colonial State Bank

covering the following points:

Rockdale council is getting behind educating the elderly in the use of electronic banking. They have organised some of the banks, the ones which are staying in their area, to hold an education day at the town hall… Alan Crouch, Colonial State Franchisee in Rockdale tells me that he and his team -along with ANZ, Westpac and St George people will be there to meet the public… Alan says it will be a chance for people who are not up to speed on electronic banking to have a chat away from the pressures of the banking chamber, to speak to the bank staff and to learn about the new way money is dispensed.1078 Material Broadcast by Mr Jones

On 3 December 1998 Mr Jones broadcast the following:



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