Workplace relations advisor Employsure is denying that it misled consumers into thinking it was affiliated with the Fair Work Ombudsman, in legal action brought by the ACCC.
In Federal Court proceedings, the ACCC is claiming Employsure misrepresented that the primary function of its hotline was to provide free advice, when in fact it made a sales pitch to consumers and offered them a face-to-face meeting, at which they were pressed to sign up to long-term standard contracts for its paid services.
It also alleges Employsure:
- sought information about consumers’ search terms when looking for the FWO website and used those keywords as part of its Google Ad campaigns;
- prominently advertised “free advice” in 16 of its Google ads;
- engaged in unconscionable conduct in its dealings with three businesses; and
- included unfair contract terms (no provision for early termination, unilateral price increases on automatic renewal and penalty clauses) in its standard form contracts.
Employsure says while its use of Google Ad keywords “did not happen by accident”, there was nothing misleading about using a “perfectly legitimate keyword” such as ‘Fair Work Ombudsman’ in its advertising strategy.
Further, using the phrase “Fair Work Ombudsman Help” didn’t suggest any government endorsement, it argues.
The hearing is set to continue on 26 June.