Not so noble trader ordered to pay $147,925 for misleading consumers
15 November 2019
A Burleigh Waters man has been ordered to pay $147,925 by the Southport Magistrates Court today (15 November 2019) after being investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for misleading consumers with a fictitious home deposit scheme.
Mr Kent Paul Scarborough, who operated Brilliant Asset Management Pty Ltd and BAM Finance Pty Ltd, also trading as Noble and Cormack, pleaded guilty to making false representations to consumers under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Mr Scarborough was fined $50,000 ordered to pay restitution of $97,925 to 27 affected consumers, as well as court costs.
Twenty-seven consumers assisted the OFT in its investigation into Mr Scarborough, who operated a scheme in which consumers believed they were making regular payments into a home deposit plan.
The court heard that consumers were issued with a certificate, were told it was valued up to $40,000, and that it could be used to purchase a property anywhere in Australia.
In total, 268 consumers entered into the scheme and none were successful in obtaining finance to purchase a home as no bank or financial institution would accept the certificate.
The court also heard Mr Scarborough wrote terms and conditions included in the agreements, without legal counsel, which attempted to deny consumers their rights under the ACL. When consumers tried to cancel their agreements Mr Scarborough attempted to rely on the terms and conditions, advising them they were not entitled to a refund and were obligated to pay the instalments for another 60 days.
In sentencing, Magistrate Jane Bentley noted that Mr Scarborough had targeted vulnerable people who couldn’t afford to get into the housing market.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said it was unacceptable that Mr Scarborough created a scheme which specifically targeted susceptible consumers who were simply trying to provide homes and stability for their families.
“The Office of Fair Trading will not stand for such unscrupulous exploitation and any traders with similar ideas should consider themselves on notice,” Mr Bauer said.
If consumers have paid for goods or services they have not received, they are encouraged to make a complaint to the OFT either online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).