Mandurah: company and director fined for ignoring cooling-off period

Mandurah: company and director fined for ignoring cooling-off period

A COMPANY was fined after it refused to offer a Mandurah woman a refund during a cooling-off period.

GTA Australia Pty Ltd, which is in administration, sells share-trading software.

The company was fined $7500 and ordered to pay consumer compensation of $4700 for breaking laws related to cold-calling contracts.

The fine comprised $5000 to the NSW registered company and $2500 to sole director Kristopher Corbett, who lives on the Gold Coast, and was handed out in Perth Magistrates Court on May 31.

This included costs to both of $1761 each.

Mr Corbett pleaded guilty to breaching provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) which required the company to honour a cooling-off period of 10 business days for unsolicited sales.

The law required the company and its sales representatives to inform potential customers of their rights, as well as provide information on how they could cancel the contract during the cooling-off period.

In March 2015, a sales representative from the company cold-called a Mandurah consumer offering her share-trading software for $9400.

She wanted time to think about it.

The next day, another sales representative from the company contacted her and during a two-hour phone call offered a discounted price of $4700.

But if a profit of $30,000 was achieved within 12 months, a further $14,700 would be payable.

The consumer accepted the deal and paid a $500 deposit, which the representative explained was refundable if she changed her mind.

However, no information relating to her right to cancel the contract during the 10-day cooling-off period was supplied, as required under the ACL.

Five days after agreeing to the purchase, the consumer paid the balance of $4200, even though it was illegal for the company to accept payment prior to the end of the cooling-off period.

The consumer later changed her mind and wanted to cancel the contract within the cooling-off period, but the company refused to provide a refund.

Consumer Protection acting commissioner David Hillyard said the right to a cooling-off period protected consumers who may be forced into making hasty decisions.

“Cold-calling salespeople often catch consumers by surprise and in these circumstances consumers may succumb to high-pressure sales tactics and agree to a purchase without time for proper consideration and research,” Mr Hillyard said.

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