Consumer Action Law Centre has launched proceedings on behalf of a client in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal against Global Maths and English and their linked credit provider, Ardennan, for misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the in home sales of their educational software.
Carolyn Bond, Co-CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre said their client instructs she was visited at home by an agent representing both companies who employed high pressure tactics to secure a sale.
‘It’s a common story with the sales of these products. In this case, it appears the representative remained longer than allowed by law and exerted considerable psychological pressure on our client. He allegedly maintained the software was easy to use and guaranteed it would improve the school work of our client’s children – both of which proved to be false.’
‘Our client also alleges that the representative failed to reveal the true price of the product – saying the total cost would be $2,990 when in fact it turned out to be considerably more,’ Ms Bond said.
‘Unfortunately, we see a lot of families who only want to do the best by their children being railroaded into buying these products without being fully aware of costs associated when they purchase them using the credit provided.’
‘We launched a report earlier this year, ‘Shutting the Gates’, that looked at the psychological manipulation involved in these sorts of in-home sales and it was clear from the research that these companies know exactly what buttons to push to get you to buy – regardless of whether you can afford it or not,’ she said.
Ms Bond warned parents to be cautious in any sales situation but said that consumers are particularly vulnerable when a seller has been invited into their home.
‘Once again, our research showed that when you invite a salesperson to visit, you subconsciously feel a personal connection so there’s a reluctance to say no – even when you’re dealing with products that cost thousands of dollars. Understandably, this emotional reaction becomes even more pronounced when the product is being spruiked as a benefit to your kids’ education.’
‘The biggest problem we see with the sales of educational software is the cost – most families can’t afford thousands of dollars up front so they sign up for these very convenient credit contracts without realising the exorbitant interest rates attached. They then find they’re still paying for the software years after their kids stopped using it – if they ever did,’ Ms Bond said.
‘A good rule of thumb in these situations is that if you feel at any stage that you really want to say no then under no circumstances say yes!’
For more information, read ‘Shutting the Gates’ or view our fact sheet on how much educational software will really cost you and what your rights are in relation to door to door sales.