Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Careers Australia: Consumer Watchdog Says Private Training Provider To Pay Back $44 Million to Government

Careers Australia: Consumer Watchdog Says Private Training Provider To Pay Back $44 Million to Government

Source: Twitter/@StMarys_Careers

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Careers Australia has admitted that it violated consumer law, and has agreed to pay back the government some of the millions it received for the training loans.

The private training provider came to an agreement with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to pay back the government any funds it received by enrolling susceptible students under false claims, according to ABC News.

The company acknowledged on Monday that it made dishonest and deceptive representations and got involved in unacceptable behavior through some of its door-to-door agents.

These misrepresentations included saying that the courses were free, that these would help students in finding jobs and that they would provide incentives like free iPads.

These misrepresentations resulted in 80 consumers from a remote community in Queensland enrolling in the courses and inadvertently accruing debts that they were not made aware of.

Careers Australia has since refunded to the government around $44.3 million after it cancelled 12,130 enrollments that were a sham. These enrollments included students who never took part of any study although they signed up.

ACCC Chairperson Rod Sims said he expects the company will pay an additional $5.5 million, bringing the total amount of money it has paid back to $160 million.

Sims remarked that the company has drastically impacted susceptible people and took money from the government for courses that were not carried out.

Sims also added that the ACC is likely to get more money from other colleges and is in negotiation with others about the activities, which are similar to the ones agreed to by Careers Australia.

“The key point is getting the money repaid to the Commonwealth. This is serious amount of money,” he said, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The commission has already taken four colleges to court – Australian Institute of Professional Education, Empower Institute, Phoenix Institute and Unique International College.