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My query is about renewal of an employer membership online…

My query is about...

My query is about renewal of an employer membership online subscription to Fair Work Australia. We did not wish to renew our subscription Membership this year. We missed the emailed membership renewal invoices as they were unfortunately marked as spam. The membership expired at 20th March. I requested to terminate after that date via email. A second overdue invoice was sent with a 10% late payment fee for additional late payment and legal action if the membership was not paid. I replied again that our membership be terminated which was again rejected. This resulted in a heated phone call from me as to what I thought of their business methods - civil language used however. Are we liable to pay this membership. I have only used the service once at joining to use templates - and not logged in since except today to officially request cancellation of the service via their page. The invoice amount for 12 months is $479 -Below are their
Terms of UseThe individual and the business / company entity that register for Membership are both jointly and severally liable under these terms, and Membership is not transferable without the express written consent of Fair Work Centre.A member’s annual Membership year commences immediately upon registration, this date becoming known as the Member's 'anniversary date', and the Member's membership will become renewable 12 months later.Members may access their online Member Account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, subject to the system being temporarily unavailable due to circumstances beyond Fair Work Centre’s control, and / or due to scheduled maintenance, where upon Members will be provided with advance notice of such maintenance.One (1) advice is deemed to be the equivalent of a phone and / or online advice consultation of up to fifteen (15) minutes in duration, unused advice credits in each Membership year do not accrue from year to year if unused in a previous Membership year, and any advice provided to a Member is based on information relating to that Member’s business that was provided to Fair Work Centre by the Member either upon first registering or when the advice request was made, unless express and clear instructions are provided to Fair Work Centre.The advice entitlements of Professional Package Members are subject to a Fair Use of our services.Any advice and / or other service provided to Members does not constitute legal advice, and our services are not tantamount to engaging in legal practice as defined under applicable state and federal laws.Members will not be entitled to representation by Fair Work Centre as part of their Membership in the first two (2) months' of their Membership year, or in the first two (2) months' immediately after Membership has been reactivated following suspension for non-payment of Membership fees.Representation is subject to the inclusions contained within the relevant Membership package (additional fees may apply to some Members), and in relation to Professional Package Members, such is limited to one (1) conciliation by telephone in each twelve (12) month period, and additional fees will apply in relation to representation for second and subsequent coniliations in that same twelve (12) month period.Where Fair Work Centre represents any Member in relation to an unfair dismissal, such representation is limited to telephone conferences with the Commission, and if Fair Work Centre elects to continue such representation and appear in person, such representation in person will attract additional fees.All templates and documents available on our website are in standard form, and may not suit a Member's individual business needs.Independent legal advice should be obtained before using any template or document obtained from our website, or relying on any of the information contained on our website.Fair Work Centre assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information or docume

Lawyer's Assistant: That depends on how many expert areas you want to subscribe to and how many questions a month you want to ask.

We paid that amount when we originally joined over 12 months ago but do not want to renew this year.

Lawyer's Assistant: What state/territory are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Queensland

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

Send emails - as above explanation

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Is there anything else they need to know?

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
4/3/2018
Leon
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 46,948
Experience: BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
Verified

Hi, I am Leon, a NSW Solicitor. I am reviewing your question and will reply again in a moment.

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Good Afternoon,

Are you are able to send me the website, so that I can read the terms and conditions of any such subscription and be able to give you more detailed information.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
https://www.fairworkcentre.com.au/terms.php
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hi Jacqueline,
Despite your agreeance to make payment in your telephone discussion today with our director, we note that your position has now changed.
We will shortly commence legal proceedings, and we will serve you with all relevant court documents after they have been filed.
Please note that the filing / legal / service fees will increase the outstanding amount by $515.00.
ACCOUNTS TEAM
New-FWO-Logo copy
Australia's Leading Workplace Advisory
Service for Employers and HR Managers
FAIR WORK CENTRE
A.B.N 59 159 292 654
Ph: 1300 161 828 Fax: 1300 699 705
www.fairworkcentre.com.au
Hi Jacqueline,
Despite your agreeance to make payment in your telephone discussion today with our director, we note that your position has now changed.
We will shortly commence legal proceedings, and we will serve you with all relevant court documents after they have been filed.
Please note that the filing / legal / service fees will increase the outstanding amount by $515.00.
ACCOUNTS TEAM
New-FWO-Logo copy
Australia's Leading Workplace Advisory
Service for Employers and HR Managers
FAIR WORK CENTRE
A.B.N 59 159 292 654
Ph: 1300 161 828 Fax: 1300 699 705
www.fairworkcentre.com.au
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
To the Fairwork team,Please send your copy of the original legal joining document with my signature for the fairwork membership to ***@******.*** and also by certified mail to *****
Gipsy Plains Cattle Co
P O Box 80
Cloncurry Qld 4824On 3 Apr 2018, at 2:01 pm, FairWorkCentre Info <*****@******.***> wrote:Hi Jacqueline,
We will advise management to proceed to debt recovery, and you should proceed in your complaint to the Ombudsman.
ACCOUNTS TEAM
<image001.jpg>
Australia's Leading Workplace Advisory
Service for Employers and HR Managers
FAIR WORK CENTRE
A.B.N 59 159 292 654
Ph: 1300 161 828 Fax: 1300 699 705
www.fairworkcentre.com.au
From: Jacqueline & Robert Curley [mailto***@******.***]
Sent: Tuesday, 3 April 2018 1:48 PM
To: ***** ***** <*****@******.***>
Subject: Re: ***Spam*** Outstanding Membership Fees - SECOND NOTICE. Gipsy. Curley
Your membership emails were missed as spam.
As per our previous email which you have evidently missed we have not used your service recently and do not wish to renew our membership for this financial year. We again request to have the option of rejoining at a future time when suitable.However if after receiving this communication your company continues with these forcible rejoining tactics I will lodge a complaint with the ombudsman and a future prospective client will be lost forever.
Kind Regards
Jacqueline Curley
Director
Sent from my iPhone as our computer system is under repairOn 3 Apr 2018, at 10:15 am, FairWorkCentre Info <*****@******.***> wrote:Dear Sir / Madam,We refer to our previous email to you, and confirm that your Membership Fees remain outstanding – to avoid a 10% late fee being applied to the outstanding amount, as well as the taking of further action (including legal proceedings), please login to your Member Account to pay the outstanding invoice and reactivate your Membership (My Account / Account Home / Click on the invoice).ACCOUNTS TEAM<image001.jpg>
Australia's Leading Workplace Advisory
Service for Employers and HR Managers
FAIR WORK CENTRE
A.B.N 59 159 292 654
Ph: 1300 161 828 Fax: 1300 699 705
www.fairworkcentre.com.au

Good Afternoon

Did you cancel from within the site as it states in clause 13?

In relation to a Member subscribed to an annual Membership Package, where a Member wishes to cancel their Membership, they may only do so from within their Member Account at any time (login and click on 'My Account' / 'Services' / 'View Modify' / 'Request Cancellation').

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Also when did your membership end and when did you first send the email to cancel and also can you tell me why did you agree to make the payment?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I cancelled from within the site today

When is the anniversary of your membership?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
20th March 2018 the membership ended I sent the second email to finish today and logged into their site today to officially cancel as per their termsUnfortunately when i rang the contact number (politely ) and asked for a director or accounts person to speak with they had no knowledge or names to give me so I was getting a bit suspicious of the whole show - asked for a representative to ring back who duly did. The conversation did not end well - but I did not say I would pay - said if I ended up having to pay I would not be giving them a a good reference etc.

Good Afternoon

Had you emailed them before the 20th and do you have a copy of it?

When you said you would pay was it after the first email?

I believe the terms and unfair and harsh and you have a right to seek an order.

Here is the law as it stands.

https://www.accc.gov.au/business/business-rights-protections/unfair-contract-terms

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Hi Leon,
No Unfortunately i did not email them before the 20th. The phone conversation was after the emails were sent and before i requested cancellation via their website

To give 6 months notice is harsh and I believe you have a case to have it terminated earlier but you have to take the matter to court and that will cost you money.

You have to decide whether it is economically viable to commence proceedings and seek that the contract be terminated immediately on the basis that the contract terms are unfair.

Had you sent the email before 20 March 2018 you could argue that you have complied with the terms even though you did not do it to the website. You had sent an email to the correct address the fact that went to spam is not your problem.

But not having sent it before the expiration you are not in compliance with the terms and you cannot use this as leveraged to have them cancel without going to court.

Unfortunately it may be cheaper to pay the 6 months notice period then it would be to take the matter to court.

Even if you were successful, you would not receive an order for your costs as this is a no cost jurisdiction.

I'm sorry I cannot give you better news.

If you wish to have a phone call to discuss this in more detail please elect a call or I can send you a request.

I hope this makes sense and is of assistance. If you have found my answer to be helpful, please rate me five stars so I can get paid for my services to you. You rating my work 5 stars allows me to continue to provide a service to those who require it.

I am happy for you to ask further questions on anything you wish more detail on.

Let me know if I have answered your question today.

Regards

Leon

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Dear Fair Work Centre,W did not pay the membership fee as we did not wish to renew this year. We have not logged into the site for some time.
We would appreciate your understanding that we thought the renewal would just expire. We would like to have the option to rejoin in future but would appreciate if you could terminate our membership for the time being please without any further payments.Kind regards
Jacqueline Curley
(###) ###-####This was my first correspondence back to them - 6 days after the membership expired - from your answer if appears i will have to pay this? Plus the additional fees they are now requesting for legal fees??

Good Afternoon,

they can rely on their terms and conditions.

They would rely on clauses 14, 15 and 16 of their terms and conditions.

That email, as it stands would give you a termination after 6 months.

I believe that they would never reduce that period, as it is worth money to them.

They cannot charge you legal fees as the agreement does not allow it or mention it.

At clause 17 it says they are entitled to recover the total of all our unpaid and future monthly membership fees up to 6 months it makes no mention of legal fees.

you only have to pay what you owe them.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Dear ***** Curley (Gipsy Plains Cattle Co),This is a billing notice that your invoice no. 27392 which was generated on 19/01/2018 is now overdue.Invoice: 27392
Balance Due: $479.00AUD
Due Date: 20/03/2018You can login to your Member Account to view and pay the invoice at https://www.fairworkcentre.com.au/members/ (My Account / Account Home / Click on the invoice)Your Member Login details are as follows:
Email Address:***@******.***
Password: **********Where an invoice remains outstanding:your Membership Account will be suspended until payment is made, and this will not affect your anniversary membership date; and
if the invoice remains outstanding for more than fourteen (14) days - a 10% late fee will apply.Australia's Leading Workplace Advisory
Service for Employers and HR ManagersWorkplace Advocacy Group Pty Ltd
A.B.N 59 159 292 654 136
Ph: 1300 161 828 Fax: 1300 699 705www.fairworkcentre.com.au
This is the invoice which I assume is for a full 12 months - are we liable for 12 months or only half of this amount - 6 months? Appreciating your help on this

Good Afternoon,

the terms and conditions make no mention of a late fee.

You now have to stand your ground and use their terms and conditions against them.

Clause 17 is the clause you can rely on and there is no clause in the terms and conditions that allow them to charge a 10% late fee.

An invoice must be outstanding by more than 30 days. There is nothing in made to mention that you are liable to pay any penalties if it is more than 14 days late.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Just to clarify - are we liable for the full 12 months even though I have cancelled the subscription today - or only 6 months worth of that subscription ? Officially cancelled today on their website - by email on the 26th March

clause 16 of the terms and conditions says that you must give 6 months notice. So you do not have to pay for a full 12 months.

16 In relation to a Member subscribed to a monthly Membership Package, a Member may cancel their Membership (which may only take effect at any point after the Term has expired) from within their Member Account (login and click on 'My Account' / 'Services' / 'View Modify' / 'Request Cancellation') by providing six (6) months' prior notice. To avoid doubt, notice may be provided within the Term, provided that the Member's Membership continues for at least the Term.

Leon
Leon, Solicitor
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 46,948
Experience: BEc Dip Ed, Dip Law (SAB) MTax (UNSW)
Verified
Leon and 87 other Australia Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you very much for your help Leon
Kind regards
Jacqueline

You are very welcome.

Regards

Leon

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