Budget insurer Youi has paid back around $14,000 to more than 100 people who were signed up to home and car insurance policies without their knowledge or consent.
The refunds come after an ASIC review of the company's sales tactics, which saw staff driven by sales bonuses to the detriment of consumers.
While many insurers have embraced online systems that allow consumers to get quotes through a web form, prospective Youi customers usually have to deal with a salesperson on the phone. In the company's highly competitive sales environment, staff were paid bonuses for selling more than their colleagues.
Some Youi staff collected credit card details off people who had called asking for a quote, and then processed the transactions as sales without the consumers knowing. In all, 102 people have been refunded for policies they never agreed to buy.
"It is completely unacceptable that customers were signed up for Youi insurance policies without their knowledge or permission," says Peter Kell, acting ASIC chair.
Since ASIC's review Youi has changed its remuneration and bonus structures, reducing – but not eliminating – commissions based on sales volumes.
"Youi is disappointed a small number of our customers had an unsatisfactory experience and we sincerely apologise to those customers," says new CEO Frank Costigan. "Youi management has worked hard over the last two years to enhance our culture, systems and processes."
On top of the refunds Youi will also make a $150,000 donation to the Financial Rights Legal Centre's Insurance Law Service, which assists consumers with free advice about insurance problems.
Youi has engaged consulting firm EY to review its sales practices and risk culture, which will report back to ASIC by mid-2018.
If you think you have a dispute with Youi you should contact them directly on (07) 3852 7895. The Financial Ombudsman Service can provide further assistance on 1800 367 287.