A free GIFT could cost you thousands

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If you have ever been offered the chance to sign up for a free training course, the Queensland Office of Fair Trading would like to hear your story.   Training courses are a great way to learn new skills or help you into a new career, but they aren’t usually free. The Government can help by giving you a study loan, but that doesn’t mean the course is free.

ICAN is currently witnessing an increase in complaints about community residents being signed up to online training courses, usually with the offer of a free laptop or iPad. It has been ICAN’s experience that the complainant has been signed up to one or more training courses, where they do not know they are incurring a large VET FEE-HELP debt when enrolled into subjects that never commence. In many instances of the training course matters that ICAN reviewed, community residents didn’t own a computer and had limited computer literacy skills, creating difficulties for carrying out a training course in an online environment. Further, ICAN has not been advised of anyone receiving a laptop or ipad when a person had been signed up.

The Queensland Office of Fair Trading offers the following information regarding training course pressure sales:

Sometimes a salesperson will come up to you in the street, or at the shops or at home, or call you on the phone. The salesperson might say the course is free or offer you a laptop or iPad if you sign up. But don’t feel pressured into saying yes. Make sure you take time to think about the offer, and whether it is right for you.

If you do say yes to an offer like this, you can change your mind and cancel it within 10 business days without paying anything.

Before you sign up to any training course, make sure you know how much it will cost, and how and when you have to pay for it.

Look at different training courses offered by different providers and pick the one that is best for you.

If you have problems with a training provider, you can ask the Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (ICAN) or the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for help.

http://ican.org.au or 1300 369 878

http://www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or 13 74 68