SCAM: Free laptop and cheap course? It’s too good to be true

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning Clarence Valley consumers to do their research before signing up to training courses or accepting offers of free computers from cold calling marketers.

NSW Fair Trading officers have been advised of marketers going door-to-door in the Clarence Valley community with promises of free iPads or laptops.

NSW Fair Trading is calling on consumers who signed up and in any other places where door-to-door marketing has occurred to act fast to check the terms and conditions in any contracts they received.

If you aren't interested in completing the course, look for any mention of a census date or cooling-off period that allows you to cancel in writing without incurring debt.

Consumers who sign up during door-to-door marketing are automatically entitled to cancel consumer contracts within a 10 day cooling-off period under the Australian Consumer Law.

Consumers who didn't receive any contract documents or who are concerned they might have been misled into signing up for a loan should phone NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 to get more information about their cancellation rights.

Indigenous consumers can phone Fair Trading on a dedicated line - 1800 500 330.

Similar marketing occurred in other parts of the state in May, with consumers asked to provide their tax file numbers.

NSW Fair Trading has received reports of a small number of training providers and marketers promoting diploma courses by misleading consumers into signing up to student loans worth tens of thousands of dollars through the Commonwealth government's VET FEE-HELP assistance scheme.

On 1 April 2015 the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training announced a ban on incentives like free iPads and laptops to market VET FEE-HELP courses.

Misleading marketing is illegal under the Australian Consumer Law and can attract penalties of up to $1.1million.

NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission are jointly investigating complaints about misleading marketing of courses and loans to vulnerable consumers across NSW.

Complaints can also be lodged via Fair Trading's website at or in person at any Service NSW Service Centre.

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