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Fake biller issued final notice

2 August 2019

A Gold Coast woman, previously fined for fake billing practices, has again been caught by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) attempting to rip off businesses.

The Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane has today (2 August 2019) issued an injunction against Ms Amanda Stichbury for breaches of the unsolicited consumer agreement provisions of the Australian Consumer Law.

The injunction permanently prevents Ms Stichbury from directly or indirectly engaging in the conduct in the future.

If she breaches the injunction she may be liable for a custodial sentence.

Ms Stichbury is the owner of accommodation listing websites Accommodation Find Pty Ltd, Internet Find Pty Ltd, and Special Days Pty Ltd.

She was prosecuted by the OFT in 2014 and 2017 for sending invoices under various trading names to businesses nation-wide, requesting they pay for services that were never requested or authorised. The invoices included words which implied that a previous relationship existed with the victims, which was not the case.

All up, Ms Stichbury has paid $68,000 in financial penalties since 2014, however that didn’t deter her continuing to conduct her fake billing practices, resulting in the OFT taking this stronger enforcement action.

OFT’s Acting Executive Director Craig Turner said the injunction has force nationally.

“Failure to comply with an injunction will result in a contempt of court order, and may lead to more serious consequences, including jail.

“Behaviour like Ms Stichbury’s has no place in Australia.” Mr Turner said.

Fake billing, or unsolicited billing, is the practice of requesting businesses to pay invoices for services that have not been ordered. These alleged services often include directory listings, advertising and domain name renewals.

According to Scamwatch, there were over 10,000 reports of fake billing across Australia in 2018, costing an estimated $5.5 million.

Both businesses and consumers can lodge a complaint with the OFT if they believe they have been a victim of fake billing. Complaints can be lodged via the OFT website at  www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

For more information about fake billing visit the Scamwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au.