QLD Trying to Cancel Online Course - Ignoring Me and Demanding Payment?

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16 July 2015
So a bit of back story... Sorry for being long winded.

Around August/September 2014, I signed up for a course through an online training company (online course). At the time I was in a secure home & financial situation, living with my partner, and in a good mental state (I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder).

Unfortunately around January 2015 things took an unexpected turn and the relationship fell apart, and I had to move out by myself to public housing which is actually far more expensive, and am not sharing living costs with anyone else. I live by myself and have to support myself. These things happen, but it put quite a lot of financial strain on me, as well as my mental health.

After a few months of trying to continue to pay the course and study, barely being able to afford food each week, I decided I needed to defer, and see how I go after that.

In May, I put in for course deferment. I was told that this would not suspend payment, to suspend payment I needed to apply for financial hardship, and that I must provide supporting document, such as a medical certificate... See below, taken directly from the email I received from them:

"Before we can grant an extension to your course duration by means of a deferral, we need supporting documentation to substantiate your request. This may include, but not be limited to, medical certificates.

Payments are not deferred along with your studies. To temporarily suspend your payments you will need to apply for Financial Hardship.

This is a separate form and supporting documentation relating to your current financial circumstances must be included in the application."

So, I sent in my financial hardship application, along with a medical certificate from my doctor that stated directly that my situation had changed and as such put extra burden on myself both financially and mentally, and that because of this I should be wavered of my weekly fees for this course for the period of 4 months - which is all you can apply for through this company at first.

They then sent me another email, saying they now needed the following documentation, something I have checked and is not stated in any of my student agreements or any contract I signed with them, and something they did not ask me for when first asking for supporting documentation:

"We have received your completed Financial Hardship form, however, we also require the following supporting documentation before we can review your application:
  • the last 90 days’ worth of transactions on your bank accounts
  • evidence of employment status, either employment contracts or separation certificates
  • any income you receive either through work or Centrelink, including payslips or Centrelink statements
  • expenses incurred due to a medical condition, include a medical certificate and/or medical bills
  • any documents that support a change in financial circumstances
All documents must be dated and clearly display your full name."

I have not send them this, as I can not see anywhere where they can ask me for this information. Now I get an email every week telling me to pay some $1600 straight up or I will be referred to debt collection agencies.

Do I have any legal ground to stand on?? What can I do? This is taking a huge toll on me, I can't stop thinking about it and I'm not in a position where I can afford this or get any help from the government or anyone to pay this.

Any help is greatly appreciated!


16 July 2015
Can I just add I have not sent them that extra information as I feel it's an invasion of privacy and as I cannot see anywhere in my contract that it's necessary I do not believe I have to, but I would love someone to please correct me if I'm wrong!

Tracy B

Well-Known Member
24 December 2014
Hi Sol,

I understand how sending them your medical records, or financial statements, can be seen as an invasion of privacy, as they are sensitive documents and the information contained are private. However, from the sounds of it, you have signed a contract with them. You are now trying to vary the terms of the contract because you claim you are in financial hardship. That is understandable and they should be willing to negotiate/accommodate you. However, you need to provide some evidence attesting to the fact that you are indeed in financial hardship and not just claiming it to get out of the contract or online course timeframes. It seems as if they are willing to meet you halfway, by making a concession for you being in financial hardship. It would be reasonable, in my opinion, to provide them some evidence that you are indeed in financial hardship so that it justifies them making this concession for you.

Of course, it would be another story if the course has not yet started, or you are within the allowed time for deferment or cancellation. Is this the case?