Warning on Training Course Offerings: Cowra and Tamworth Targeted

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning consumers in the state’s west and north to do their research before signing up to training courses.

Concerned members of the public have advised NSW Fair Trading that itinerant marketers are now operating in the Cowra and Tamworth areas.

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

Mr Stowe said unscrupulous door-to-door marketing was on the increase and had reached such a level of concern NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had joined forces to investigate, expose and prosecute offenders.

A joint statement from NSW Fair Trading and the ACCC was released today, announcing the prosecution of Unique International College Pty Ltd in the Federal Court.

Using face-to-face marketing, including door-to-door sales, Unique enrolled over 3,600 students in Diploma courses in 2014/2015 and was paid approximately $57 million by the Commonwealth in respect of those enrolments.

Fair Trading has been informed that in Tamworth today, a resident was offered $50.00 to sign up to a training course, with the marketer claiming she could cover the cost of the course through the Commonwealth government’s VET FEE-HELP assistance scheme.

There have also been reports of marketers offering free laptops to an Indigenous community in Cowra if residents sign up for training courses or government VET FEE-HELP loans.

Commissioner Rod Stowe is urging consumers who signed up to training courses offered by door-to-door marketers over the past few days 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.”

Consumers who have been approached in the Cowra and Tamworth areas are encouraged to contact NSW Fair Trading's customer service line on 13 32 20 or the 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.