A Canberra business has filed a complaint with the ACT Human Rights Commission after fintech startups Afterpay and ZipPay reportedly refused to serve it.
Fairfax Media reports that Deborah Avery, owner of online sex toy shop The Pleasure Box, was rejected by both buy-now-pay-later startups because the merchant is in the adult industry.
“I want to be able to offer my customers Afterpay and ZipPay. It’s my customers that are being discriminated against because they’re making a [moral] judgement,” Avery told Fairfax.
Afterpay reportedly told Avery it doesn’t take on adult industry businesses as customers, and ZipPay, a brand of ZipMoney, replied it doesn’t serve adult businesses with a turnover less than $10 million.
ZipMoney co-founder and chief operating officer Peter Gray told Business Insider that the company would not comment on “specifics of any commercial or risk decision”.
“However, we are disappointed that the ZipPay name has been used in this fashion when a review of the industry would have identified that we support numerous retailers in this sector.”
Initially, Afterpay refused service to The Pleasure Box based on a compatibility issue with its website, but once that was rectified the fintech reportedly declined again, based on the industry that the business was involved in.
“The [adult] industry is not accepted right now because the industry carries an above average non-repayment/fraud rate on the consumer end. Not because it is the adult industry,” said one email to Avery, according to Fairfax.
An Afterpay spokesperson told Business Insider that during its “early stages of operation”, the company is only exposing itself to “certain categories of goods” to manage risks.
“As the business continues to grow, Afterpay plans on expanding the service across a broader range of categories,” said the spokesperson.
The ACT Anti-Discrimination Commissioner doesn’t have the power to rule on complaints but does refer the matter to the defendant and facilitates a conciliation process. If a resolution can’t be reached, the case can be taken to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Afterpay was named organisation of the year at this year’s FinTech Australia awards, praised by the FinTech Australia judges for its “strong, customer-centric” retail buy-now-pay-later solution.
ASX-listed ZipMoney in August landed $40 million of investment from Westpac, in one of the biggest capital raising deals seen in Australian tech this year.