My Submission to the Australian Banking Royal Commision – Vexations Fee’s

My name is Phillip Di Biase, I am a businessman, I got my first ABN when I was 15 a year after I started exporting consumer goods globally online.

This has put me in contact with a wide range of banking services.
The following are fee’s I have found throughout my time in business.
I have had many conversations with bank managers, employee’s, IT Consultants, bankers, Visa and Mastercard from many different banks and many different countries usually in search of the best deal but also knowledge.

I have a strong background in Information Technology and I have had a number of insights into banking software and banking systems, I know the databases and backend processes required to facilitate a given bank operations even if it is not oblivious that there is a secondary process behind it.

I use the term vexatious to describe fee’s which have no justification, often the banks MAKE money from these transactions and they are double dipping by charge the consumer (e.g International transaction fee’s and ATM withdrawals).

I have spoken to all the major banks and a large number of small ones about the fee’s listed often when they have just been charged to me, most  workers repeat policy that the fee exists just “because”, when I press the point that they are entirely vexatious I am almost always successful in removing the fee. Rarely do I have to go to the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) to settle a complaint except with Paypal who are incredibly stubborn.

Vexatious/exorbitant  fees: Why
Incoming SWIFT Fee LOW FEE Charged by SWIFT (less than $1 aud) the “work” is handled by software
Outgoing SWIFT Fee LOW FEE Charged by SWIFT (less than $1 aud) the “work” is handled by software
Outgoing SWIFT Exchange Rate An ENTIRELY made up number by the bank which gives them a mark up of 5-15% not including fee’s
Incoming overseas money Exchange Rate An ENTIRELY made up number by the bank which gives them a mark up of 5-15% not including fee’s
VISA/Master card foreign currency fees Transactional banks give banks HIGHER commissions for international transactions, the bank is getting more and charging the consumer for the privilege. There MAY be a “fee” charged to banks for an international transaction by visa/master card but I have not seen ANY evidence, if it did exist they still get a larger commission from the transactional bank for overseas funds movement
Bank Offered Exchange Rates ENTIRELY MADE UP. Might as well charge as a 5-15% fee
Overseas ATM fees ENTIRELY MADE UP! The only fee charged is by the overseas bank, the Australian bank gets a HIGHER commission for handling an overseas transaction by the transactional bank (visa/mastercard)
Dishonour fee’s Dealt with by software for free, there MIGHT be a fee of less than $0.30 involved but its typically charged to customers at $5-$15
Overdraft Acceptance Fee Dealt with by software, rarely/never approved by a human and is apart of the banks business
Account Keeping Fee’s Dealt with by software

 

Needs to be examined Why Counterarguments
Interest rate advertised at the simple rate NOT the compound rate On most advertisements interest is shown as Per annum e.g “22% pa”.
This is not correct however as it is to be paid back Monthly.
This is compound interest and the simple interest rate should NOT be advertised as it is only the MINIMUM amount that could be charged by the bank per year, if you don’t pay all your monthly payments for a year then the interest rate is

24.359657794448% p.a, 22% is the LOWEST amount you will pay if you pay on time every month. The consumer of the ability to gain interest on their own investments because they have to re-pay more their capital debt sooner or else incur compound interest.

 

The calculation is P(1+%/100/r)^r(t)

 

 
Interest rate returns The bank can loan money out in a credit card at 22% and will pay an “investor” 1.25%-2.25% on their “savings account”, this rate is lower than the rate of inflation! Consumers would be much better off buying non-perishable consumer goods then leave their money in a “savings account”. The bank will say they get foreign investment and RBA investment at 1-2%. The problem with that is they charge 25%. They will say there is a risk of default on loans and investments but the investor has no risk in a bank account, but the risk management is handled easily by software and they don’t take loans without low levels of risk done by proven risk management strategy’s
Banks creation of leverage/new money If I buy a TV from JB HI FI with my credit card, it goes from my Bank to JB HI FI’s bank which then lends/loans it out to others. Someone can be bankrupted for not paying their credit card bill which is an outrageous 22% but the accountability on the banks part for investing/re-investing the deposited money is unclear, as well as the regulation on this matter, who does the bank, owe the re-invested money too? The answer is the person who deposited it, but they only have to give it to the person when they withdraw it from the bank which rarely happens.  
Credit card interest and fee’s Credit cards, are charged at a special rate, a very high rate usually around 20% but they can go much higher, but the same person can get a business loan or a personal loan at 9%, there is little/no difference between these loans, nothing is stopping a credit card working just like a personal loan or a personal loan like a credit card so what could possibly justify the almost doubled interest rate?  
Late payment fee’s That’s what compound interest is.  
Share trading fee’s These fee’s are HUDREDS of times more than the actual fee which is charged to banks with ISDA’s and other bulk trading agreements at Cents  
No interest if you withdraw Banks will not pay interest on a savings account if you withdraw money from it, but it isn’t as if the bank takes the money bank from the person it borrowed it too and it ALL fits within their expected withdraw limits of which they compensate for by having cash reserves and alternate lending schemes and insurance.  
Commonwealth bank advertising to children and school’s and TAFE’s in classrooms. They are a non-governmental commercial organisation and often the WORST consumer choice. Going round to schools handing out branded equipment and giving incentives to schools to sign kids up to get “savings” bank accounts (which are not even higher than the rate of inflation and benefit the bank mainly because they get to loan that money out at 20+% to others)  
No interest on checking accounts The bank still invests that money as its own  
Interest Charged on Bank Fee’s This concept is absolutely abhorrent, not only do they charge you an entirely made up fee, but if the account goes into negative balance you will be charged extremely high interest on it as well.  
“Travel” cards These cards often lure customers in by offering them the chance to “lock in their own ex rate” but this confers NO advantage to the consumer as they are already 5-15 cents on the dollar worse than the actual exchange rate and you often can’t re-convert the money from another currency to AUD or if they do your stuck with the banks ex rates which again are TERRIBLE (5-15 cents worse so they sting you TWICE) and there is often a yearly fee on the cards so if you can’t re-covert the money then you just loose it every year.  

 

Other points:

FEW People knew that the financial service ombudsman exists! They have done a very good job at hiding!

The whole system is quite irritating, basically, the bank lends our own money back too us, charging 22% to us on a credit card and 8-15% on a business loan and 10-20% on a personal loan depending on whatever metrics they use giving us 1-3.5% in return.

If they don’t lend OUR money directly then they lend the reserve banks money which we pay for in taxes, inflation and debt in the budget

If they don’t get it from the reserve bank the get it from overseas investment using the reserve’s rate as a bargaining chip to get the rate as low as possible.

Then we have to pay it back monthly otherwise the interest rate compounds and there is a fee, meaning we can’t invest that money in something that makes a return ourselves.

If a debt is defaulted on, all manner of fee’s are applied to it as well as the compound interest, then they try to liquidate assets on the inflated debt and if that does not cover it they privately sell the debt to collectors a fractions of its value (inflated by fee’s and compounded interest).

To top it all off, the banks are insured and backed up by the government, which we will pay for in cuts to services, “austerity” measures, inflation, taxes etc etc.

Returns Policy

This does not cover faulty items, faulty items are covered by our warranty terms and conditions.

We do not accept returns when there is no issue with the product.
We also do not accept order cancellations once paid.

Once we are paid the order goes DIRECTLY to our dispatch team who send it out, it is impossible to stop, ontop of this, the order is a legally binding contract, we take our jobs very seriously and if we were to allow for the system to accept returns it would mean delaying ALL orders in case someone changes their mind, which you can’t do with contracts.

Shipping, Handling and Delivery Times

The following guidelines apply to any online shipping company.

The shipping and handling times, as well as the delivery time’s, depending on where the product is located, where you are having it sent too,, what your shipping method was and the time of year you made your order.

Peak times:

December and February is the hardest time to get something delivered on time because of Christmas, New years and Chinese new year.

Before and after December and February millions of people are rushing to get their packages sent in before the holidays where it will get stuck creating congestion and after the holiday there’s a backlog.

Chinese new year goes on for 2 weeks and is extremely disruptive, its exact date changes also because its based on a lunar calendar.

I can only submit the package to the shipping company with all the correct details and wait for it to arrive like you. There is nothing I can do to speed this process up

Lithium batteries:

Products with lithium batteries are considered dangerous/hazardous when being transported by air, they require more time to pass through security and customs and they can be stopped for any reason.

Customs:

The phones must pass Chinese export customs, Hong Kong entry Customs and the destination countries customs.

I can only supply customs with the information they need all decisions are up to them on when and how they process

Lowest Price Guarantee

Hi all Phillip Di here I hope you are well.

When I decide to list a product on PhillipDi.com I like to make sure it’s lower than any of my competitors, that is why I am happy to do my best to match any identical product listed elsewhere, this does NOT include sales/coupon prices

Sometimes prices update and I will notice it in my sales volume and I will research it again, but if that doesn’t happen fast enough and you see there’s a price cheaper elsewhere please let me know and I will fix it for everyone.

The best way to let me know is to post it on a forum somewhere (even onto this post) and sending me the link, that way its public and everyone can benefit, I don’t like it when a store says “find a better price and we will match it”, 1. Whats the point? 2. The price only improves for yourself and not the public.

About

Hi all Phillip Di Biase here, I hope you are well.

About:
First I would like to say thank you for taking the time and showing the interest to learn a little bit more about me and my store. Everything I do and sell on here is extremely straightforward, the prices are the prices (USD).

I am a businessman, I first started PHD Enterprises in January 2012 selling imported products, this was because I would often hear the words “we can’t afford it” and I decided not to let that stop me, I knew you could get something cheaper if you went directly to the manufacturer and that has always been what I have sought to do, this search has lead me on many occasions to the lowest prices and I decided to make what I found available to the public.

If you see “Phill the Quality” written on a product it means that I have PERSONALLY tested and owned this product.

Other products that don’t have the “Phill the Quality” tagline have come from personally tested and trusted factories.

Our aims:

To sell good quality products at an affordable cheaper than all of our competitors, and fight unconscionable markups on other stores

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I saw your add and I am located in: the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Finland, Luxembourg Singapore, Malaysia, USA, Canda, UK, Ireland, Australia

Can you send to my country?
Yes, I specifically chose these countries because you are currently paying a very high price for electronics

Your protections:
You have the same protections you’re used to with eBay on PhillipDi.com, because we use PayPal as a trusted payment method which has Paypal buyer protection. PhillipDi.com also has a 2-year warranty on all of our products

Your responsibilities:

If an issue arises you must contact us about it and we will first troubleshoot the issue, then refund or replace your item. You must be REASONABLE, start from the position that I am an honest person doing my best and that rarely things go wrong and it’s usually not the end of the world, we also don’t tolerate obscenities.

Thank you for reading this far in, if you have any good business ideas, want to buy anything in bulk, or have a question or have a question before you buy please contact us on the contact us page

Returns & Faults

Returns

We don’t accept returns based on change of mind/mistakes/misunderstandings that were not our fault (e.g a friend told you the model would work best for you but they were wrong).

Please read all details carefully and find out if the phone/laptop/product is right for you then buy.

Faults

If there are any faults with the phone/laptop/product please email us and we will go through some troubleshooting steps, if that does not work please return the product to be fixed by us or a refund.

Warranty Policy

PhillipDi.com will uphold the following Warranty taken from the ACCC (Australian competition & consumer commission).

Sourced from
https://www.accc.gov.au/business/treating-customers-fairly/offering-warranties/warranties-against-defects

Warranties against defects

A warranty against defects is a representation communicated to a consumer that if the goods or services (or part of them) are defective, the business will:

  • repair or replace goods (or part of them)
  • resupply or fix a problem with services (or part of them)
  • provide compensation to the consumer.

A representation will only be a warranty against defects if it is made at or around the time that goods or services are supplied.

A promise about what you as a supplier or manufacturer will do if something goes wrong with a good or service can be a warranty against defects under the ACL even if it is not provided in a formal document.

Any material with writing on it could evidence a warranty against defects, for example wording on the packaging or on a label, if those words contain such a promise.

Example for what is a warranty against defects

Definition of a consumer

A person—or in some cases a self-employed individual or a business—will be considered a consumer if they purchase:

  • goods or services that cost less than $40,000 or
  • goods or services that cost more than $40,000 but are of a kind ordinarily acquired for domestic, household or personal use or consumption or
  • a vehicle or trailer primarily used to transport goods on public roads.

A purchaser will not be considered a consumer if goods are purchased to be resold or to be transformed into a product that is sold.

Who the requirements apply to

If you provide goods or services to consumers with a document evidencing a warranty against defects you must adhere to the requirements of the ACL.

The ACCC and other ACL Regulators expect compliance with the requirements at all levels of the supply chain (that is, suppliers and manufacturers alike).

Example for who the requirements apply to

When the required information must be provided

If providing a written warranty against defects, the information must be expressed in reasonably plain language, be legible and presented clearly either when:

  • the supply of the good or service takes place—for example, when a consumer purchases a good
  • about the time the supply of the good or service takes place—for example, a warranty may be provided with a good when it is delivered even though the consumer purchased it at an earlier time.

Examples for when the required information must be provided

Warranties against defects requirements

Many goods are sold with a warranty against defects. This is often highlighted on a label or packaging or attached to a sale docket or receipt—for example, statements like ‘2 year warranty’ or ’12 month replacement guarantee’. The warranty against defects is also often described in a document inside the product’s packaging.

All ‘documents evidencing a warranty against defects’ must be presented in a certain way, and must include specific information to ensure that consumers understand the warranty and know how to make a claim.

A ‘document evidencing a warranty against defects’ includes any material on which there is writing or printing, or on which there are marks or symbols, which contains a description of the features or terms of a warranty against defects. While such a document will usually be a piece of paper or pamphlet outlining the terms and conditions of a warranty and be provided by a business inside the product’s packaging, in some circumstances, the packaging itself may also be considered a document evidencing the warranty against defects.

Where a product’s packaging is considered to be a ‘document evidencing a warranty against defects’ and there are also warranty documents inside or otherwise attached to the product, ACL Regulators will consider the warranty against defects requirement has been met provided that:

  • the information required by the ACL and the mandatory text are included with warranty documents inside or otherwise attached to the product, and
  • this information is not inconsistent with the statement on the packaging.

The mandatory information must be available with the product itself—it is not sufficient to refer consumers to information on a website or in-store.

Example for warranties against defects requirements

Promotional material

Promotional material is unlikely to trigger the warranties against defects requirements when it is:

  • not considered to be a document
  • not given to the consumer close to the time of supply.

However, promotional material constituting a document and given to the customer close to the time of supply may amount to a warranty against defects and therefore must include the information required by the ACL.

At all times, businesses must be careful not to mislead customers about their warranty and consumer guarantees rights. You should ensure that information provided in warranty documents complies with the warranties against defects requirements and are consistent with statements on promotional material.

Information that must be included

A ‘document which evidences a warranty against defects’ must state:

  • what you as the business (giving the warranty) must do if goods are faulty or defective – for example, repair or replace the goods
  • what the consumer must do to entitle them to claim the warranty – for example, cease using the goods when a fault arises or contact the supplier or manufacturer and point to the defect
  • the following information about the business giving the warranty:
    • name
    • business address
    • telephone number
    • email address (if any)
  • the warranty period—how long the warranty lasts for
  • what a consumer must do to claim under the warranty—how to contact you and where to send the claim
  • whether you or the consumer are responsible for expenses associated with a warranty claim and how the consumer can claim back any expenses incurred
  • that the benefits provided to the consumer by the warranty are in addition to other rights and remedies available to the consumer under the law.

Mandatory text

In addition to the requirements above, a document evidencing a warranty against defects must include mandatory text to ensure consumers are aware that any warranty against defects operates in addition to consumers’ rights under the ACL. This mandatory text is:

Our goods come with guarantees that cannot be excluded under the Australian Consumer Law. You are entitled to a replacement or refund for a major failure and compensation for any other reasonably foreseeable loss or damage. You are also entitled to have the goods repaired or replaced if the goods fail to be of acceptable quality and the failure does not amount to a major failure.

Example for information that must be included

Additional words to explain consumers’ rights

Businesses are free to include extra information in a warranty against defects to explain how the consumer rights in the ACL apply. However, businesses must take care to ensure any extra information they include in their warranty does not limit or negate the mandatory text.

This may be relevant in situations where goods are sold to different types of purchasers—for example, those who fall within the definition of ‘consumer’, and those who do not.

If you sell goods to different types of purchasers, some of whom are ‘consumers’ within the meaning in the ACL, you must comply with the warranties against defects requirements regardless of whether you also sell to purchasers who are not considered ‘consumers’ within the meaning in the ACL.

You may include extra information to explain how the consumer rights in the ACL are limited in circumstances where a purchaser does not fall within the meaning of ‘consumer’ in the ACL.

If you provide a warranty against defects in relation to goods that are not ordinarily acquired for personal, household or domestic use and your business chooses to limit its liability to the extent allowed by the ACL, you may also include extra text to explain this.

It is important to remember that you must honour any promises—whether verbal or in your warranty—that you make, regardless of how the rights in the ACL apply to that particular transaction.

Consumer guarantees

Warranties against defects are always provided in addition to the consumer guarantees contained in the ACL.

In some instances a warranty against defects will provide the consumer with remedies that exceed those provided by the consumer guarantees. However, in other cases, consumers may be entitled to a remedy under the consumer guarantees after a warranty against defects period has expired.

You must take care to ensure that consumers are not misled, either through oral representations or in the words of a warranty against defects, into thinking that their rights are limited to the remedies or timeframe set out in a written warranty against defects.

Example for how warranties interact with consumer guarantees

Express warranties

The ACL contains requirements in relation to express warranties under the consumer guarantees. An express warranty relates to the quality or standard of a good, whereas a warranty against defects relates to the steps that you will take to fix a problem with a good or service.

Warranties against defects often contain an express warranty. If your warranty against defects includes an express warranty you must ensure that you honour the express warranty and comply with the requirements in relation to warranties against defects.

Compliance with the ACL

Any action taken by the ACCC and other ACL Regulators with regard to non-compliant stock will be:

  • considered on a case-by-case basis
  • proportionate to any consumer detriment associated with the non-compliance
  • consistent with the ACL Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

When providing a warranty against defects, you must also comply with the broader requirements of the ACL, in particular the rules against misleading or deceptive conduct and false or misleading claims.

You must also ensure that when you make oral representations to consumers, you do not mislead them about their rights or about the goods or services they are purchasing.

Example for broader requirements of the ACL

My fake product testing process for Phones and Laptops

How to “spot” a fake phone?

With the high costs of smartphones there is a huge incentive for criminals fake these devices with cheap parts and make it look like an original to get close to the original’s price.

This is done typically by buying the housing kit to the phone (front screen, back and middle panel) and putting in a cheaper phones guts.

This makes “spotting” a fake impossible by way of looks because it uses the same outer shell, so how do I know my products are genuine?
I know for a fact my phones and laptops are genuine because I run the following tests:

  1. Weight: I weigh the phone with a good quality scale that goes down to 0.01 grams and compare it to the manufacturer’s website
  2. Dimensions: I make sure the dimensions match up EXACTLY and that the case has been properly closed, in the case of cheap copy’s they won’t do this properly
  3. Performance: I test the phone with AnTuTu Benchmark which tests the CPU, Graphics card, RAM against the manufacturer’s benchmarks (for laptops I use Z-CPU)
  4. Flash test: I get the latest original stock firmware from the manufacturer and flash it onto the phone, if the phone has different hardware it won’t work at all.

Other scammers exit on the market by building trust with genuine products at first and then later scamming you with fake ones when you do a bulk order, I use two methods to combat this:

  1. Random tests and years of trading with my partners
  2. Payment through Escrow, meaning payment is only released by a third party when both parties agree

So there you have it, that’s how I do my due diligence on products I sell.

Is my phone compatable? Will my phone work? European and USA phones

Hi guys, some questions keep coming up about some of the differences in the Phones I sell. The QUICK answer is to go to https://willmyphonework.net/ which will tell you exactly if your phone will work or not.

Go to the website, check the Make and Model of the phone you want to buy on the website and put your country and carrier and it will tell you if your phone will work. If any of the boxes are ticked that means you can get at least SMS and Phone, if 3G is ticked you can get mobile data and if 4G is ticked you can get High Speed mobile data