New South Wales Fair Trading Minister, Reba Meagher has welcomed the recent conviction of a Queensland man for making false and misleading claims about a "get rich quick" scheme using text messages.
The Parramatta Local Court convicted Dominic Dibiani on 10 September under the Fair Trading Act for failing to substantiate claims relating to a promotion his company undertook. He was ordered to pay AU$1,300 in fines and costs.
The Court was told that in 2003, Australasian Racing Data Pty Ltd, a company of which Dibiani was the sole director and secretary, sent unsolicited mobile phone text messages to NSW consumers claiming they could "earn up to AU$1,000 per week tax paid".
Consumers who responded to the text message found it was a promotion for a horse racing software package costing AU$8,800.
"There is no such thing as a sure bet, and Fair Trading investigators required him to substantiate his claims that consumers could earn the amount of money suggested. After initially claiming no knowledge of the text messages, then seeking an extension to the deadline for response, Dibiani ultimately failed to respond to Fair Trading," Meagher said.
This is the first prosecution under changes to the Fair Trading Act which started in August 2003.
Meagher said while Fair Trading is actively taking on advertisers who make false claims, consumers also need to be on their guard.
In the last 12 months, Meagher's office has received 23 complaints regarding potentially misleading or deceptive claims by traders relating to investment, gambling or get rich quick schemes.
"Whenever considering an offer, particularly if it is an unsolicited approach, consumers should always keep in mind that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is," Meagher said.