RLC’s systemic responses to Private Training Colleges and VET FEE HELP complaints

RLC has assisted several vulnerable clients who have been compelled to sign up to inappropriate vocational training courses and VET FEE HELP loans.

RLC ensured that the VET FEE HELP debts were remitted by the training colleges in each of these cases. 

RLC claimed that in each case that private colleges, and their direct marketing agents, had breached the Australian Consumer Law, particularly the prohibitions in the unsolicited consumer agreements, misleading and deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct provisions.

RLC identified systemic issues around door to door marketing which targeted public housing or low SE areas or disadvantaged people, such as marketing outside Centrelink offices.

In our submissions to, and appearance before, the Senate Inquiry into Vocational Education and Training, RLC raised issues of inducements and high pressure door to door sales targeting areas of public housing in inner Sydney and general unconscionable conduct and misleading and deceptive claims around the nature of VET FEE HELP loans.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_and_Employment/vocationaled/Submissions

A number of RLC ’s case studies, and recommendations for law reform, were echoed by the Committee in its final report to Parliament: 

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_and_Employment/vocationaled/Final_Report

These proposals include more effective complaint and redress procedures, a ban on inducements, or claims that courses were ‘free’ or 'government funded’, and changes to the way in which fees are paid to private colleges.

RLC is continuing to lobby for the establishment of a national Vocational Education and Training Ombudsman, to investigate and resolve complaints about private colleges and VET FEE HELP debts.

RLC has been involved in a range of media stories regarding these issues

http://www.smh.com.au/national/push-to-stop-doortodoor-diploma-marketers-targeting-the-vulnerable-20150716-gidsxo.html

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/lessons-to-learn-from-the-training-fiasco/news-story/2880e449e8a63b1f9d68e17a58ca46ef

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/auditor-must-examine-vet-feehelp/news-story/4c7bb21e32891a5dc253a8f1317e7958

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/doorknocking-diplomas/news-story/d43c0313b8263f31000442988c08e064