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Training company learns hard lesson with $35,000 fine

15 November 2019

A Brisbane businessman and his training company have been ordered to pay $45,930 in fines and compensation today (15 November 2019) by the Brisbane Magistrates Court following an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Byron Vince and his company, The Queensland Academy Pty Ltd, were each charged with five counts of breaching the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Mr Vince was fined $7,000 and his company was fined $35,000 and ordered to pay $3,930 in compensation to three affected consumers. Convictions were recorded against both Mr Vince and The Queensland Academy Pty Ltd.

Mr Vince failed to appear in the court and both matters were heard ex-parte.

The court heard that Mr Vince falsely represented to one consumer that he could provide them with a Diploma of Sports Management when he had no approval to do so, and accepted payment while failing to provide the service.

The company also offered to supply forklift driving courses and qualifications and represented in its terms and conditions that consumers would be refunded if the company cancelled the course.

However, in three cases where courses were cancelled, the company failed to provide refunds despite making assurances it would, leaving consumers out of pocket.

In sentencing, Magistrate Stephen Courtney noted the defendant strung along one consumer for a considerable period of time without delivering the training or providing a refund, and for three other consumers, failed to honour promises made to them.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said this outcome is a clear reminder to traders of their duty to act honestly and fairly.

“Consumers place their trust in traders such like RTOs, and they should be entitled to receive what they have paid for,” Mr Bauer said.

“The conduct of Mr Vince and The Queensland Academy Pty Ltd was dishonest, and there are no excuses for traders to behave in such a manner.”

More information on business and consumer rights and responsibilities under the ACL can be found at www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au.