Last updated 25 May 2016

Sometimes people are approached in public places or online with offers to undertake a course of study. The offer may include free goods, such as ipads, if the consumer signs a contract. The advertisement of the courses may misrepresent the qualifications that can be obtained, give the impression that they are free or subsidised, that the consumer has the ability to complete the study, that employment in a given field is guaranteed and that the particular qualification will be accepted by employers.

Training colleges are bound by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and a student or former student of such a training college can complain to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) about breaches of the ACL, or they may decide to take action in court.

The role of the ACCC is to investigate breaches and, if necessary, take legal action in the public interest. The ACCC does not give individuals legal advice or representation. However, the ACCC can act on behalf of a collection of consumers if it decides to take the matter on.

If the student decides to take court action, this action must be commenced within six years from the date the college stopped providing the training course to the consumer or from the breach of the contract. Legal advice should be sought prior to taking action in court.

Complaints regarding registered training organisations, which are unable to be resolved with the respective organisation, can be referred to the Australian Skills Quality Authority.

All apprentice/trainee-related complaints should be forwarded to Apprenticeships Info.

The Department of Education and Training manages a variety of programs including User Choice and the Certificate 3 Guarantee. Queries and complaints can be directed to the respective programs.

International students

The regulatory authority who registers international courses is the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. Enquiries and complaints about studying in Australia can be directed to Study in Australia.