The ACCC has issued a warning about the conduct of Unfair Dismissals Direct after 18 clients did not receive payouts.
The company represents employees in unfair dismissal claims in the Fair Work Commission.
However, it is accused of keeping all settlement money awarded to its clients.
ACCC issues warning about Unfair Dismissals Direct
Unfair Dismissals Direct does not offer legal services, but instead acts as a paid agent on a “no win, no fee” basis.
It deducts fees from any final settlements it negotiates for its clients.
John Bingham is the sole director of Unfair Dismissal Direct.
However, multiple customers have complained to the ACCC claiming that Unfair Dismissals Direct failed to pay settlement monies after deducting their fees.
Unhappy customers have also created a Facebook page warning others about Unfair Dismissals Direct.
Misleading and deceptive conduct
The ACCC says it has reasonable grounds to suspect that Unfair Dismissals Direct has engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.
It accuses the company of making false or misleading representations by telling consumers that it would receive settlement monies on their behalf, deduct its professional fee and transfer the remaining balance to the client when, in some instances, Unfair Dismissals Direct kept the remaining balance.
ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said:
“We are very concerned that it appears some clients of Unfair Dismissals Direct, who were at a low point in their lives after losing their job were not paid the settlement balance owing to them.
“We are warning Australian consumers seeking representation for unfair dismissal claims to choose their representatives carefully.”
Beware ‘no win, no fee’ sharks
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Fair Work Claims also provides representation to employees in the Fair Work Commission.
He warned consumers to be wary of “no win, no fee” offers.
“There are plenty of ‘no win, no fee’ sharks out there – that’s why it’s important to choose your representative carefully,” he said.
“While ‘no win, no fee’ might sound like a good deal, the devil is in the detail.
“Many ‘no win, no fee’ firms offer contracts that stipulate they will take more than half of any settlement – and if the claim is small, they can often take the lot.
“That’s why our firm offers many clients an up-front fixed fee no surprises guarantee, so they know exactly how much their claim will cost, with no hidden charges at the end.”
Workers have just 21-days from the date of dismissal to file a claim.
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