Norm Marlborough

Norm Marlborough

Former Minister for Small Business; Peel and the South West; Minister Assisting the Minister for Education and Training

    Small business warned to read the fine print.

    30/10/2006 3:15 PM

    Small business operators are being warned to read the fine print to avoid unwanted charges for unsolicited services.

    Small Business Minister Norm Marlborough said a recent direct mail offer by a company based in Spain to list Western Australian web addresses on a world-wide web register, could cost an unwary recipient more than $5,000.

    “Reading the fine print on any offer is important, but when the offer is unsolicited, being sure of the details before signing is an absolute must,” Mr Marlborough said.

    The Minister explained there were added complications when the direct mail offer was made by a company based overseas and was not technically deemed to be a ‘scam’.

    “If an Australian consumer runs into trouble with offers made from overseas companies, there is seldom anything that can be done, as the company making the agreement is outside Australia’s legal jurisdiction,” he said.

    “Small business operators are sometimes so busy, they fail to pay attention to the finer details of what appears to be a free or fair offer.”

    Scams can range from emails to letters or phone calls. They can also be in the guise of lotteries, advising that the recipient has won a large sum of money.

    Small Business Development Corporation acting chief executive Steve Moir said advice was available for victims of scams through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) at: and the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection (DOCEP) at: .

    “The best defence against scams of any kind is simply not to respond in the first place,” Mr Moir said.

    Minister's office - 9213 6500