Misleading and Deceptive Conduct – What Happened to Get Qualified Australia

Get Qualified Australia (GQA)  is a defendant in legal proceedings brought by the ACCC. The ACCC allege GQA engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, unfair contract terms and unconscionable conduct. They also alleged GQA made false or misleading representations to its customers.

Some BackgroundScreen shot of dictionary - misleading and deceptive conduct

  • GQA was a company that matched its customers with Registered Training Organisations. This helped them to get formal qualifications. They were then able
    to apply for jobs holding recognised certificates and qualifications.
  • GQA offered money back guarantees to its customers.
  • GQA is now in liquidation.

Legal Actions

The ACCC used the Australian Consumer Law to take legal action against GQA.

The ACCC alleged that GQA had:

  • engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in contravention of s18
  • engaged in unconscionable conduct in contravention of s21 and
  • its agreements contained unfair contract terms within the meaning of ss23 and 24.

Freezing Order

Section 137F allows for a freezing order. This means that a company cannot chase customers for outstanding payments.

The court stated that s137F:

 “is not available for the purpose of preserving assets to meet pecuniary penalties”.

The section is available to:

 “preserve assets to meet orders for compensation”.

The freezing order isn’t to make sure a company has the funds to pay a fine. The order ensures the company pays compensation to those who have suffered damages.
If a court grants a s137F order then usually the Applicant (person seeking the order)  has to undertake to pay damages. If the respondent defends the Applicants allegations and due to the freezing order sustained damages the Applicant has to pay the damages for the losses incurred.

The court granted the ACCC a freezing order pending the final outcome of its legal action. The ACCC didn’t have to give the usual undertaking in this case. The ACCC didn’t have to give the undertaking. The Court believed the ACCC was acting in the public interest.

The orders prevented GQA “commencing or progressing debt collection activities”. The orders also froze several of GQA’s bank accounts

ACCC Alleged

According to the ACCC, GQA engaged in misleading and unconscionable conduct by:

  • not honouring its “100% money back guarantee”;
  • assuring customers they were eligible for qualifications when they weren’t;
  • GQA used unfair sales tactics;
  • GQA insisted on up-front payments and providing important terms and conditions after payment;

  “The ACCC alleges that Get Qualified targeted vulnerable consumers with conduct that was clearly unfair and unreasonable, including providing them with false or misleading information about eligibility and refusing refunds,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

The Results of Alleged Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

GQA is now in liquidation

 “As a result of the freezing orders and the ACCC’s and ASQA’s actions, GQA has been starved of funds, placing [it] in a difficult financial position:” Get Qualified CEO Adam Wadi.

The ACCC proceeds with the prosecution even though the company is in liquidation.

The ACCC will no doubt win the prosecution as there is no defence. The Court will grant the pecuniary fines asked for by the ACCC. Another precedent will be set.

How would your business cope if it were in this situation? You may not intend to engage in misleading and unconscionable conduct. But the law does not take into account your intentions.

Misleading and deceptive conduct can occur in any business communication:

  • advertising – online and offline
  • brochures
  • telephone conversations
  • business proposals
  • contracts
  • terms and conditions
  • emails…….etc.

Avoid engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct.

Contact our expert Steven Brown on 1300 882 032 or email

To learn more about misleading and deceptive conduct watch the video below.

Misleading and Deceptive Conduct video

Steven Brown presenting to Parramatta Chamber of Commerce eNRGy 3 Networking Group on Misleading and Deceptive Conduct.

12 Ways to Use Photos Legally on Your Website or Social Media

To Use or Not To Use Photos Legally

Have you received a letter for using images without permission? Do you want to know how to use photos legally on your website and social media profiles?

Page views, likes and clicks are what we all want to help grow our businesses. So, we look for ways  to increase our online presence.

Social media and websites are fabulous marketing tools. We use social media and websites to sell product and get new customers for little or no money. It’s never been this easy to market ourselves, our products or our services.

Every SEO post and guru tells us that we need to tell a story. So, what better way than ‘with a thousand words’ – how do we get our thousand words but with a picture of course. Images and graphics are powerful tools. Images will convert more customers and sell more product than text alone. As a result, we task ourselves with finding the perfect image.

What To Do

12 Ways to Use Photos Legally on Your Website

Now comes the tricky bit. Where can we get that elusive picture to tell our thousand words, exactly as and when needed.

Oh, that’s right, there’s this thing called the internet and it is full of pictures. We can browse the internet and find the exact image we need. Don’t worry we’ll credit the person who took the photo or created the image. They’ll love the extra publicity we are giving them. WRONG.

You need to make sure that you use photos legally. So, the first task should be to make sure you know what is legal and what isn’t.

Can I Use Those Photos Legally?

Photographers and artists own their images. The images have rights attached to them, even if there is no copyright listed. It’s very easy to copy and paste from a website page. But, a letter may arrive stating that you have committed copyright infringement. You could end up paying significant amounts of money, far more than you can imagine.

What’s The Cost

Getty Images seems to be on a crusade to stop image theft. We have had several clients come to us with letters they have received from Getty Images.
Getty Images has tools to crawl websites and social media posts. They match the image they find to copyrighted images. Then they send out those offending letters that nobody wants to receive.
While most of us aren’t professional photographers we need a solution to the problem. While, the solution may seem unattainable with knowledge and care you can get that image you need.

Download our FREE ebook – Is Your Website Legal – 12 Ways to Use Photos. It will help you understand how to use images without fear of prosecution.

DOWNLOAD HERE – 12 Essentials for Using Photos Legally

Keep Your Advertising Message Legal

BLAB Small Business Talk Australia Websites

BLAB featuring Steven Brown


Don’t miss Etienne Lawyers’ next BLAB  Small Business Talk Australia  Websites at 4pm AEDT Sunday 8 November 2015. This week we will be discussing all things website related.

In case, like we were a couple of weeks ago – completley oblivious to BLAB, it is an app in which up to four people  have a video conversation whilst others watch and are able to interact by making comments or asking questions. We have jumped feet first into this new app and are loving it. Don’t be shy come and join us.

Now down to the matter of what will we be discussing in BLAB Small Business Talk Australia Websites?

Websites – Any thing and everything including:

  • Does every business need a website?
  • How is the best way to get a website?
  • What should a website cost me and how should I expect to pay for it?
  • SEO – what is it and why do I need it?
  • Marketing – a very big topic, having a website is great but unless people know you have one it is just a waste of money.
  • Breach of Copyright
  • Defamation – Your website makes you a publisher.
  • Are you responsible for the content users leave on your website?
  • Terms and Conditions of Use of Your Website
  • Website Privacy
  • Contracts
  • Trade Mark Infringement
  • Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

The points above are a general guide to our conversation but feel free to jump in and ask questions. We will BLAB for about an hour and it will be recorded. If you miss the live the stream it will be available at the same link. If you have questions that weren’t answered in BLAB Small Business Talk Australia Websites please contact our BLABbers offline for further information.

This weeks BLAB features James Cooke – Cooke Consulting @CookeConsulting, Julie Sanderson – Jacaranda Grove Consulting @jacarandagrove, Steven Brown – Etienne Lawyers @SteveBrown_  and Suzanne Brown – Etienne Lawyers @tbearetienne. Don’t forget to follow our BLABbers on Twitter.

BLAB Small Business Talk Australia Websites – Join the BLAB Here

BLAB All About Websites



Etienne Lawyers FREE download – Is Your Website Legal? – 12 Ways to Use Photos Legally on your Website will help you to understand how to use photos on your website without fear of prosecution.

Images and graphics are powerful tools in your business. They will convert more customers than text alone. But if you are using those images illegally you could end up paying significant amounts of money, far more than you can imagine.


Is Your Website Legal? BLAB Small Business Talk Australia Websites

Get Your Free Download Now!






Is Your Website Legal?

Steven Brown

Steven Brown of Etienne Lawyers is presenting a FREE seminar on Who is Responsible for the Content on Your Website at the BREED Business Centre Wednesday 21 October, 2015.

  • What is Defamation?;
  • What is Misleading and Deceptive Conduct?;
  • What is Trademark Infringement?; 
  • What is Breach of Copyright?

Click Here to Register


You will gain concise, practical knowledge and useful tips from Steven as he has advised businesses from micros to multi-nationals on the legalities of website content over his many years giving business advice and is a Registered Business Specialist with the Law Society of NSW.  With his extensive experience lecturing at the Institute of Company Directors, UTS, Finsia and Macquarie University this seminar is bound to be as enjoyable as it is educational. Steven’s seminar will be peppered with real life examples of how other businesses protect their websites and don’t get caught out with illegal content on their website due to others. This will allow you to learn from other peoples mistakes and successes.

If you have a website, social media accounts or are thinking about getting a website this is the ideal opportunity to come along and learn from Steven about the importance of protecting your website. He will be available to answer questions you may have about what is on your website.


As part of the evening, Breed provides a warm and inviting atmosphere to facilitate networking amongst the attendees before and after the seminar. Meeting new people at events like this is a great way to grow your business. Either by connecting with new potential customers, finding new suppliers or just connecting with people who know people you might want to know.

Don’t miss out on this FREE event to increase your business skills, learn from an expert and make new business connections.

Use this seminar to find out if your website content is legal and how to protect your website to ensure your business grows.

Who is responsible for the content on your website


Etienne Lawyers FREE download Is Your Website Legal – 12 Ways to Use Photos Legally on your Website will help you to understand how to use photos on your website without fear of prosecution.

Images and graphics are powerful tools in your business. They will convert more customers than text alone. But if you are using those images illegally you could end up paying significant amounts of money, far more than you can imagine.


Is Your Website Legal?

Get Your Free Download Now!


The Importance of Having a Good Brand – Susan Jones, Living Lines

Susan Jone eNRGy 3

Susan Jones from Living Lines gave an informative and engaging presentation at eNRGy 3 on the importance if having a good brand.

Susan provided a great take home exercise and examples of before and after branding.

Thank you Susan for sharing your expertise with us.

If you would like more clients and to network with vibrant businesses come along to Parramatta Chamber of Commerce eNRGy 3 Network Meeting, Tuesday 10.00am, Parramatta. Contact Etienne Lawyers for more details, 8845 2400.

Life and Times of a Mortgage Broker – Sze Chuah

Sze Chuah eNRGy 3 Presentation

eNRGy 3 was entertained and educated by one of our members Sze Chuah from Yellow Brick Road about the life of a mortgage broker. He was informative and gave us all an insight into what happens when we borrow money. Thanks Sze you were fabulous as always.

If you would like to connect with vibrant local businesses come and visit us at eNRGy 3 10am Parramatta every Tuesday. Please contact Etienne Lawyers 8845 2400 for further information.

BREED Put on a Warm Welcome for Local Business Networking Event.

BREED Business Centre

The BREED Business Centre once again out did itself with its hospitality and generosity. Stepping in at short notice to host the July Business After 5 for the Greater Blacktown Business Chamber on a cold July night they provided a warm and inviting atmosphere.

The evening was well attended. New business relationships were formed and current relationships strengthened.

BREED General Manager Stephen Frost spoke knowledgeably on youth education and employment.

Thank you to all the BREED staff who put in a supreme effort in organising the evening.

BREED Board Members Nathan Burbridge and Steven Brown attended to witness a vibrant evening of networking and thank the BREED staff for all their efforts.

eNRGy 3 – Presentation by Michael Janamian

eNRGy 3 Michael Janamian

Thank you Michael Janamian for an informative and inspirational presentation on monetising Facebook. You certainly have a comprehensive knowledge of the subject.

If you would like grow your business and build sound relationships with other inspired businesses then consider joining eNRGy 3, we have only 1 representative for each business and you or your business must be a member of the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce.

We are looking for new members so please feel free to come and visit us. Each week we have a speaker either from our group or a visiting guest speaker.

Please contact Suzanne Brown 88452400 for details of eNRGy3.

BREED Business Centre and WSI eBusiness Series

BREED Linkedin Seminar

Thank you to BREED Business Centre and WSI for the first 4 weeks of the eBusiness Series.

The topic for the first part of this series was Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin. The courses were well attended and all participants were enthusiastic with the results they achieved for their businesses. Lots of tips and tricks were shared as well as basic information.

Thank you to Stephen Frost, Donna Patriarca and Naomi Pikse from BREED for being so welcoming and helpful and to Angela Santoro from WSI for passing on her invaluable knowledge to everyone.

The next part of the series begins on July 7 for 4 weeks and will encompass photo and video editing for your business. We might even see some budding Mario Testinos or Steven Spielbergs.

ICLE & BAM Studios filming with Etienne

Steven Brown & Helen Haynes filming for ICLE

Thanks again to ICLE and BAM Studios for inviting Etienne Lawyers to film seminars for continuing legal education.

Steven Brown filmed two seminars on the Personal Property & Securities Register (PPSR).

We were delighted to have Helen Haynes film a seminar on Presenting with POWER for ICLE.

Thank you to Alice Debechi from ICLE for inviting Etienne Lawyers to present for ICLE.

Tristan Baker from BAM Studios as always was the consumate professional and made everyone feel comfortable.

Both Steven’s and Helen’s seminars will be available online at ICLE