A report prepared by Promontory, a Business Unit of IBM Consulting, has recommended that the discriminatory treatment shown by buy now, pay later (BNPL) providers towards the Australian shooting industry, be continued.
In what SIFA hoped would be a fair hearing, the Australian Financial Industry Association (AFIA) code of practice for the BNPL industry was recently subject to a mandatory review.
SIFA specifically challenged section 8.7 (f) of the code that mandates: (that AFIA members) Take reasonable and appropriate steps to ensure our Merchants or Retail Partners that we have a direct relationship with will not provide our BNPL Products or Services for online gambling, retail gambling, gambling at domestic or offshore casinos and the purchase of firearms.
Our submission to the review focused on demonstrating that the inclusion of our highly regulated and legal industry as a restricted industry was unjustified. SIFA highlighted:
- Regardless of how the financial transaction is made between a commercial licensed firearms dealer, and the licensed, Police approved buyer, the following is always true:
- Firearms cannot be legally sold unless the consumer is appropriately licensed.
- Firearms cannot be legally sold unless the consumer has a Police approved permit to acquire.
- Firearms cannot be legally sold unless the transaction is documented and registered.
- Australia’s strict firearm regulatory environment is designed around businesses utilising merchant services to transact in the sale of firearms in line with regulated processes. As such, there is no risk (real or perceived) in allowing businesses who sell firearms access to utilising BNPL services.
- By law, all firearm sales MUST be conducted through a licensed firearms dealer. The government has dealt with the risk through regulatory means; therefore, it is unnecessary for BNPL providers or the AFIA to impose further requirements on legitimate businesses and undermine the efforts of the government.
SIFA also stressed that businesses that sell firearms generally sell a wide variety of products that are not regulated or restricted in any way, and the approach by various BNPL providers to simply deny a business access to their services simply because they sell firearms is short-sighted.
Despite being in receipt of the facts, and not seeking further evidence or consultation with industry experts, Promontory stated in its review that, “there was broad support for these restrictions across varied stakeholders with the exception of one submission from the shooting industry which supported the availability of BNPL for the purchase of firearms. Promontory is not proposing changes to this aspect of the Code.”
This is an extremely disappointing outcome and further evidence that regardless of the facts, many institutions simply choose to discriminate against our 100% legal and highly regulated industry.
SIFA is currently planning our response; in the meantime, shooting industry stakeholders and Australia’s 1,000,000+ licensed and law-abiding shooters should review whether they are happy to continue using the services of institutions that go out of their way to discriminate against lawful businesses, and their chosen pastimes, sport and recreation.