Margaret Quirk

Margaret Quirk

Minister for Corrective Services; Small Business

    Small business warned of website advertising scam

    6/09/2007 9:15 PM
     
    6/9/07

    Small business operators are being warned to read the fine print to avoid unwanted charges for unsolicited services, as the latest international scam hits regional Western Australia.

    Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk said a recent direct mail advertising scam by a company based in Spain to a hairdresser in Esperance showed the practice of scamming was still alive and well.

    The scam invites the business proprietor to advertise on a website. However, the cost is very expensive and attempts to cancel the deal are fruitless.

    “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,” Ms Quirk said.

    “There are added complications when the direct mail offer is made by a company based overseas.”

    The Minister said if an Australian consumer ran into trouble with offers made from overseas companies, there was seldom anything that could be done, as the company making the agreement was outside Australia’s legal jurisdiction.

    “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,” she said.

    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.

    Ms Quirk said advice was available for victims of scams through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website -http://www.scamwatch.gov.au and the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection website - http://www.docep.wa.gov.au

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

    Minister's office- 9213 7000