A key to achieving a fair and competitive marketplace is ensuring businesses comply with consumer laws. We focus on achieving high levels of business compliance by working with relevant industry bodies and other partners. We continue to support businesses to be compliant by giving them information and resources. Under our integrated, risk-based approach to compliance, we act quickly against businesses and organisations that are causing the most harm, to protect consumers before there is significant detriment.
Hoskins Maroondah and its Director were ordered to pay $860,000 in fines, $29,550 compensation to two vendors, and $10,000 in costs. The agency was also ordered to publish adverse publicity notices about its illegal conduct, and to implement a three-year compliance program, which included training agency staff about their legal obligations under the Australian Consumer Law and appointing a compliance officer to ensure the program was effectively designed, delivered and maintained.
Unlicensed motor car trading and auction houses
Our compliance and investigations activities led to the conviction of four individuals involved in illegal motor car trading. Our investigation found that all four individuals had been on-selling cars bought at auction houses to unsuspecting consumers. In March 2020, all four individuals were convicted and financial penalties handed down, with fines ranging from $12,500 to $30,000, as well as legal costs.
Making it easier to comply
myCAV is our online portal that allows Victorian businesses to apply for a licence or registration and manage their obligations, with instantaneous updates and lodgements. Following the successful implementation of myCAV for incorporated associations, estate agents, rooming house operators, owners corporation managers and conveyancers, the system was further expanded in October 2019 to manage fundraising registrations.
In 2020-21, myCAV will be expanded to support the Professional Engineers' Registration Scheme.
Towards zero defalcations
Misuse of trust funds, are a significant threat to the stability of the real estate industry and the safety of consumers.
We introduced a pilot program for new ways of detecting non-compliance and leveraged process improvement outcomes to reduce the length of defalcation investigations.
As at 30 June 2020, we saw a 38 per cent reduction in the average age of defalcation investigations, compared to the previous year.
Professional Engineers' Registration Scheme
The Professional Engineers' Registration Scheme is designed to ensure that highly-qualified and experienced engineers develop and oversee Victoria's most important projects - including the Metro Tunnel, West Gate Tunnel and Level Crossing Removal projects.
Despite the complex nature of engineering work and the pivotal role engineers play in ensuring public safety, many engineers are currently not required to hold a formal registration or a licence as many other professionals are.
For more information on these case studies, see pages 11 - 12 of the Annual Report 2019-20 (PDF, 781KB).
We took a range of enforcement actions in 2019-20. Actions completed or in progress as at 30 June 2020 are outlined in the tables on pages 13-15 of the Annual Report 2019-20 (PDF, 781KB).
Registers we administer
We administer the following registers:
- Estate agents
- Motor car traders
- Incorporated associations
- Second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers
- Patriotic funds
- Limited partnerships
- Owners corporation managers
- Retirement villages
- Funeral service providers
- Sex work service providers (licensees)
- Sex work brothel managers
- Rooming house operators
For more details, see the table on page 16 of the Annual Report 2019-20 (PDF, 781KB).