A Port Melbourne man has been convicted and fined $20,000 for making false and misleading representations in job advertisements, following action by Consumer Affairs Victoria in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Between February 2013 and May 2014, Daniel Chung Keat Leong, 33 placed more than 20 advertisements on the seek.com.au and gumtree.com.au websites, and received more than 9,500 applications. The ads were placed for his company, Keat Enterprises Pty Ltd (ACN: 153 375 476), which has since been deregistered.
Mr Leong was charged with three offences under the Australian Consumer Law (Victoria) (ACL):
- Misleading conduct regarding employment: The advertisements were presented as job advertisements, but in fact required applicants to pay for job training with no employment prospects. The majority of the advertisements did not mention any costs involved and, where costs were mentioned, they were described as ‘Software licensing and CPA monitoring costs’. When the successful applicants attended an interview with the company, they were subjected to a marketing pitch and offered or sold positions in the training programs for fees between $2,000 and $3,000.
- False and misleading representations: Mr Leong advertised his company as an accounting firm, but the company did not undertake any accountancy services. Mr Leong also presented his company as a tax agent, or that it was able to perform the services of a registered tax agent, when it was not registered as one.
- Limiting consumer rights: Mr Leong entered into an agreement with a consumer that stated ‘no refunds will be provided'. Under the ACL, businesses cannot limit a consumer’s right to a refund if there is a problem with the product or service they have bought.
Mr Leong was also ordered to pay costs of $860.
We have taken previous action against Keat Enterprises Pty Ltd. In April 2015, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court convicted and fined the company $165,000 for more than 30 breaches of the ACL, including engaging in conduct likely to mislead job seekers and recent accounting graduates into enrolling in its courses. For more information on that case, view our Keat Enterprises Pty Ltd - Court action page.