Queensland Training Provider fined by OFT for Failing to Supply Training Workshops

Friday 8 July 2016 @ 9.44 a.m. | Trade & Commerce

It has been reported in a recent Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Media Statement, that a corporate training provider has been fined more than $18,000 in fines and restitution after failing to supply a service - namely, training workshops.

The OFT commenced an investigation after receiving a number of complaints from small business owners for payments paid to attend training workshops between January 2014 and February 2015, which the accused entered into agreements to provide, but failing to make good, the workshops.

Background to the Case

The accused (Ms Liddle, trading as the sole proprietor of the training company, H. Woods and Associates), was found guilty of eight counts of breaching the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) [Sch 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)] by accepting payments for training services and failing to supply them.

In each instance, employees arrived at the venue for the training workshops and were informed that no booking had been made and advised the participants the training had been postponed.

Ms Liddle promised she would reschedule training for a later date, but did not do so. She eventually offered full refunds, but failed to make the promised refund payments.

Comment on the Penalties Imposed

In sentencing, both the Southport and Brisbane Magistrate's Court considered the seriousness of the matters and the conduct shown by the accused, who did not perform the training due to having insufficient numbers at the workshops to make a profit.

On 9 May 2016, the Southport Magistrates Court fined the accused $6,000 and ordered her to pay $3,199 in restitution.

The accused was also fined a further $8,000 and ordered to pay $1,048 in restitution by the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 17 June 2016.

Reaction from the Qld OFT

The Fair Trading Executive Director, Brian Bauer said such behaviour weakened confidence in the marketplace:

“Businesses cannot expect to get away with failing to provide a service that another small business has paid good money for. If a business fails to deliver on promised goods or services, consumers and businesses are encouraged to contact the OFT for assistance."

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Training provider in a Liddle bit of strife – Qld Office of Fair Trading Media Statement

Training provider fined $18,000 after taking cash from small businesses and leaving them high and dry – smartcompany.com.au 

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