Public Warning issued under Section 223 of the Australian Consumer Law
The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria has issued a Public Warning notice to consumers about the business practices of Buy A Trail Pty Ltd ACN 149 207 849 ('the company') and its director Mark William Whittingham.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has received a number of complaints from clients of the company, which is now in liquidation.
The company and Mr Whittingham sent unsolicited emails to brokers regarding the sale of loan trail books (a database of loan details that a broker uses as part of their portfolio). The purchaser of the loan trail book is entitled to the trailing commissions on the loans.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has received information that Mr Whittingham asks for a deposit from interested brokers and has received deposits ranging from less than $10,000 up to $60,000. Information packs provided by Mr Whittingham to brokers specify that the deposit is fully refundable if the prospective purchaser decides not to buy the loan trail book.
Mr Whittingham has also made representations to prospective buyers that he will place their deposit monies in a trust account. Despite these representations a number of brokers have reported that the deposits have not been returned in full, or at all, despite many requests.
On 17 August, the Federal Court in NSW ordered that the company be wound up and a liquidator appointed. The liquidator confirmed that clients of the company may submit claims against the company with the liquidator for consideration, and it will arrange for the company’s website (buyatrail.com.au) to be shut down.