A business that illegally signed up vulnerable people to paid training courses has been forced to pay $430,000 in penalties, as a result of a Queensland Office of Fair Trading investigation.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D’Ath said Ozzy Fortune Group Pty Ltd and its directors Dannis Arora and Rohit Arora were fined $400,000.
Three employees were also ordered to pay $10,000 each in penalties.
“More than 2900 students were victims of these unfair practices, falsely told the courses were free, and offered illegal incentives, like iPads, to hand over personal details,” said D’Ath.
“Ozzy Fortune targeted Indigenous consumers, as well as those in regional and remote areas, and those with low levels of literacy and numeracy skills” D’Ath said.
Ozzy Fortune were paid commissions and incentives by a number of Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) to sign up students. The RTOs in turn received Federal government funding via the now defunct VET FEE-HELP scheme.
“I send my thanks to the OFT team for their excellent work. These sort of business practices cannot and will not go unpunished,” D’Ath said.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the behaviour was ‘disgraceful’.
“Businesses must honour a 10 business day cooling-off period and permitted hours of trade,” Bauer said.
Employers are being urged to report fraudulent training practices by RTOs to the relevant authorities.
Any employer or stakeholder who has concerns about RTOs in Queensland can contact the office of the Queensland Training Ombudsman on 1800 773 048 or www.trainingombudsman.qld.gov.au