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NSW Open Colleges 7-day Cooling Off Period Acceptable?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Mlash Adhanom, 28 July 2015.

  1. Mlash Adhanom

    Mlash Adhanom Member

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    I enrolled at Open Colleges for a course that has a total of 13 units to be completed over a maximum of two years. I was paying on a weekly basis. They sent me materials for two units.

    Later on, I decided to withdraw from the course but they asked me to pay the whole course fees referring to a 7 days cooling off period in the contract that they made me sign. I thought cooling off period should apply on the two units for which the college has incurred costs as many higher education institutions also apply census dates on semesters/trimesters rather than on the whole course. I have expressed my concern and asked them for withdrawal without paying full course fees. My request was unsuccessful and I stopped the payment.

    Subsequently, debt collectors have been handling the case and recently a solicitor sent me a letter as a final reminder before a possible legal action.

    Is the way Open Colleges enforces its cooling off period fair under Australian consumer law? What would be the efficient way for me to proceed?
     
  2. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Mlash Adhanom

    Did you attempt to withdraw from the course within the 7 days cooling off period?

    Under Australian Consumer Law (ACL), consumers have a 10-day cooling off period. However, this only applies if certain conditions are met (e.g. they approached you and ask you to enrol, as opposed to you calling them up or finding them on the internet). Otherwise, the provider may give you a 7-day cooling off period in the contract (not part of ACL).

    There is another thread on here that takes issue with Open Colleges, perhaps worth checking out: Open Colleges - Have I been Scammed? - LawAnswers.com.au.

    I would suggest you contact the NSW Office of Fair Trading. They are an independent agency set up to protect consumers and ensure the ACL is complied with by businesses. They offer a free dispute resolution service and can better assist you with information. Another source of information is the NSW Department of Education.

    Good luck and keep us informed on how you go.
     
  3. Mlash Adhanom

    Mlash Adhanom Member

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    Many thanks, Tracy.

    Those links are helpful. I will keep you informed if this issue is resolved through Open Colleges complaints officers and /or external bodies.

    Regards.
     

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