VIC Query on applicability of cooling off period and reimbursement

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New Member
26 September 2020
Dear Team,

I was approached over telephone (tele-marketing) by a financial (share market) advisor / port folio management company based in Sydney (in the pretext that I had queried about their services in their facebook - I later on confirmed that this was a fake claim they chose to introduce) and they managed to convince me to take up subscription of their ASX "Growth Report". I paid up $350 for the same. This happened on 17th Sept.

The next day, another sales person called me and asked if I am interested in good stock advice and portfolio management. He arranged for a call back the next day (last Saturday - 19th) and the sales person was smooth talking, and with pushy sales tactics he persuaded me to take their product (1 year subscription) promising high yielding stock recommendations. I ended up consenting (over phone) and paid $3000 and the rest ($3500) to be paid later in Oct.

They started giving stock recommendations (including price at which to buy) by phone investing on Monday - 21st and Wednesday -23rd, and I soon realized that their recommendations are bad. (Hours after me purchasing the stocks at their suggested values, the prices of all of them fell and within 1-2 days, I am having a loss (un-realized) of $2000. I cannot sell them any time soon, and my money is blocked. I, myself as a naive investor (with merely 1 month of exposure into asx stock market) was not making any net loss until I signed up with these guys and taking their advice.

I am still in cooling off period and asked for a cancellation of the "service" and a refund (at-least a partial one, after deducting 1 month's service charge of 500). They are reluctant stating that I am an "existing subscriber" and pointing me to their Terms and conditions as attached.

I now realize, their first "subscription" offer for $350 was to trap me as an "existing subscriber", and to avoid me asking for refund in cooling-off period with the larger amount of $3000.

(I gave even a considerate option to take 1 month of subscription cost and return rest of the money I have already paid, and cancel services to me immediately) , but they say that there is no cancellation and asking me to continue.

Kindly let me know if cooling-off period rights are applicable to me in this case, and what options I have. (This is in the light of their "Terms and conditions" and the way a customer is being trapped into their set terms.)

Note: They have specifically mentioned in their invoice:

"This is an upgrade of your existing relationship with **. ** Subscription Agreement/Terms delivered earlier remains in full force and effect, until expiration."

It is evident that it is a con company from the way they operate.

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