October 11, 2010: Harvey Norman has renewed its relationship with consumer loans behemoth GE Money, paving the way for an orgy of ‘nothing to pay’ promotions in the lead-up to Christmas, Fairfax Media reports.
The five-year extension was signed in the last week of September. GE Money has supplied 1.5 million Harvey Norman customers with more than $5 billion of interest-free packages since 2004, according to Fairfax.
Such is the significance of the Harvey Norman relationship to GE Money that that when parent company General Electric’s chief executive, Jeff Immelt, was in Australia in September he meet with Harvey Norman chairman, Gerry Harvey.
Harvey Norman offers anything up to 4 years interest free finance on big-ticket items, and these long interest-free periods have been an integral factor in Harveys’ strategy to attract shoppers for large purchases.
In 2008, Harvey Norman had to publicly distance itself from GE Money, after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) ordered GE to pay compensation to some of its customers because of the way it conducted its debt collection process.
ASIC says some customers claim they have been called more than 100 times a month or 10 times a day, when the guidelines specify a maximum of three times a week.
Among Harvey Norman’s competitors in digtial imaging, Camera House is currently offering interest free repayments through to 2012 on purchases of $500 or more.