Warning on Training Course Offerings: Indigenous Communities Targeted

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning consumers in Western NSW and across the state to do their research before signing up to training courses.

Concerned members of the public have advised NSW Fair Trading that itinerant marketers were operating in the Dubbo area this week targeting the local Indigenous community.

NSW Fair Trading is calling on consumers who signed up in Dubbo to act fast to check the terms and conditions in any contracts they may have received.

“If you aren’t interested in completing the course, look for any mention of a census date or cooling-off period that allows you to cancel in writing without incurring debt,” Mr Stowe said.

“Consumers who sign up as a result of door-to-door marketing are automatically entitled to cancel consumer contracts within a 10 day cooling-off period under the Australian Consumer Law.”

NSW Fair Trading has previously received reports of a small number of training providers and marketers promoting diploma courses and misleading consumers into signing up to student loans worth tens of thousands of dollars through the Commonwealth government’s VET FEE-HELP assistance scheme.

Similar marketing occurred in the Moree area in May and in Purfleet in July this year targeted at Indigenous consumers.

Indigenous consumers who have been approached in the Dubbo area are encouraged to contact NSW Fair Trading's Aboriginal enquiry line on 1800 500 330.

Mr Stowe said misleading marketing is illegal under the Australian Consumer Law and can attract penalties of up to $1.1million.

“NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission are jointly investigating complaints about misleading marketing of courses and loans to vulnerable consumers across NSW,” he said.

“Consumers and community workers can report illegal marketing to Fair Trading by phoning 13 32 20.”