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Govt issues warning on ‘concerning’ SME resource

A public warning notice has been issued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about the conduct of one well-known resource for Australian businesses.

News Jack Derwin 28 June 2016
— 1 minute read

The ACC is concerned about the conduct of Australian Business Financing Centre (ABFC), which operates www.australiangovernmentgrants.org.

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It is alleged that the ABFC website and their sale representatives claim to offer access to a database of Australian Government grants and loans available to small businesses, for a reported fee of between $497 and $701.

However, having paid the fee, small business owners found that there were no suitable grants or that they were ineligible for them.

"ABFC has made false or misleading representations about the service’s capability and quality, and the role the service has played in assisting small businesses gain government grant funding," the ACCC alleges.

"We are very concerned that small business are paying ABFC for a service that does not provide the information and assistance they have paid for," ACCC Acting chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

While the website claims their "researchers assist thousands of entrepreneurs", and showcase their client "success stories", the ACCC alleges otherwise.

When those Australian small businesses that the ABFC claims to have helped were contacted by the ACCC those featured said they had not received any funding via ABFC and that the stories were published without their permission.

Despite providing an Australian address, the ABFC’s sole director is based overseas, the ACCC said.

Similar mirror websites offering the same services have also come to the attention of regulators in New Zealand and Canada.

Mr Schaper urged small business owners to remain vigilant.

"Small businesses should take care when assessing offers to assist them in obtaining government grants. The bottom line is that information relating to government grants is generally available free of charge from a variety of state and federal resources online," he said.

 

Govt issues warning on ‘concerning’ SME resource
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