Get Qualified Australia (GQA), a now defunct education company had proposed to convert people’s hands-on work experience into qualifications. GQA went into liquidation this March.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought legal proceedings against GQA last September
- GQA mislead its consumers through a breadth of practices including making them believe and offer qualifications when they weren’t actually eligible for qualifications
- It also seldom kept its promise of a 100 percent money back guarantee
The Federal Court’s Justice Jonathan Beach said GQA had displayed serious, extensive and deliberate misconduct and that “it took place within the context of a nonexistent compliance culture, a cavalier attitude towards consumers, and the knowledge and direct involvement of senior management”.
Citing the reasons for his judgement Justice Beach says that the education system, “… had been infected by the parasitic practices of operators preying upon the vulnerable and the unwary.”
- The company (GQA) did not defend its case at trial
- Penalty of $8 million imposed on GQA and
- Adam Wadi, GQA’s sole director, disqualified from managing a corporation for seven years
The ACCC’s commissioner Sarah Court said that GQA “… took advantage of the vulnerable people…” and “[W]e believe the substantial penalties imposed in this case do reflect the egregious conduct of both GQA and Mr Wadi”.