A Melbourne training company has been convicted and fined $165,000 for more than 30 breaches of the Australian Consumer Law (Victoria), including engaging in conduct likely to mislead job seekers and recent accounting graduates into enrolling in its courses.
Keat Enterprises Pty Ltd (ACN 153 375 476), which traded as Keat Partners and is now in liquidation, posted 23 online ads for internships or employment between February 2013 and May 2014. However, the company used the ads as a means of attracting people to enrol in its training courses.
After applying for the advertised jobs, people were invited to attend an ‘interview’, where they were marketed, offered or sold training courses, generally priced from $2000 - $3000.
In the majority of cases, the ads:
- offered part time or full-time employment
- offered salary ranges between $30,000 to $50,000
- did not mention any costs to be paid by the job seeker.
Keat Enterprises faced charges of:
- representing itself either as a tax agent or able to perform the services of a tax agent on behalf of clients, when it was not registered as one
- making false representations to people during ‘interviews’ or in agreements entered into with those people.
At the sentencing hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, Magistrate Gerard Lethbridge remarked that the company perpetuated a deliberate fraud designed to encourage job seekers to undertake its courses.
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