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Acquiring a long list of complaints on privacy

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The privacy commissioner has been called in to investigate allegations that the Privacy Act is being flaunted by an education company targeting job-seekers to sell vocational courses.

Consumer Action Law Centre has today lodged a representative complaint against Acquire Learning and Careers Pty Ltd and related entities (Acquire) on behalf of job seekers who provided their personal details in the hope of getting a job, only to receive calls from telemarketers selling education courses.

The complaint against the vocational and education training (VET) broker and training provider has been lodged with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act).

The Privacy Commissioner is being asked to investigate whether, among other things, Acquire complied with its obligations under the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) when carrying out direct marketing calls to Australians who had provided their details when applying for jobs.

“When someone applies for a job, all a job-seeker hopes for is to get a call offering them an interview, not a sales pitch”, said Consumer Action Director of Legal Practice Tom Willcox.

“We want Acquire to give job-seekers a genuine ‘opt-out’ from telemarketers when applying for a job.” Mr Willcox said “Job-seekers are vulnerable to high pressure sales that appeal to their desire to find work”.

Acquire has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the complaint.

Consumer Action recently assisted client Benjamin Mutch to escape a VET FEE-HELP debt of over $20,000 from Acquire Learning.

According to Mr Mutch, the Acquire telephone salesperson told him he had found his details on a job search website which then led to the sales pitch.

END

Media Contact: Jonathan Brown, 0413 299 567, media@consumeraction.org.au

Notes:

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is an Australian Government agency, which is responsible for privacy functions conferred by the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act).

Under the Privacy Act a person can make a complaint to us about the handling of their personal information by organisations covered by the Privacy Act.

The OAIC may also commence a Commissioner initiated investigation into an act or practice that might breach the Privacy Act.

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