Court finds The Australasian Institute misled students

22 December 1999
The Federal Court has declared Internet educational provider The Australasian Institute Pty Limited breached the Trade Practices Act 1974 when it made a number of misleading and deceptive representations about its Internet courses.

"The Institute was not authorised to enrol students in a number of courses it promoted and delivered over the Internet, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today.

"In one instance, the Institute claimed that its Global Master of Business Administration course was an approved Internet version of the University of Ballarat's GMBA, when in fact it had not been approved by that University.

"It also claimed that its Master of Management Enterprise course had approval from the University of Newcastle to deliver that course to students when in fact it did not", Professor Fels said.

The Institute must now offer refunds to certain students and display corrective advertising on its website.

"The Trade Practices Act 1974 applies to educational providers and businesses operating over the Internet just as it applies to businesses involved in traditional forms of trade and commerce", Professor Fels said.

The Australasian Institute also provided a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC that its directors, attend an approved trade practices course about the operation of the consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

"The ACCC remains vigilant of businesses which operate in new and emerging areas of commerce and will act swiftly to stop illegal conduct".

The consent orders were made by the Federal Court following mediation between the Institute and the ACCC.
Release number: 
MR 251/99
ACCC Infocentre: 

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