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Fees – information

Standards: Clause 5.3
5.3. Where the RTO collects fees from the individual learner, either directly or through a third party, the RTO provides or directs the learner to information prior to enrolment or the commencement of training and assessment, whichever comes first, specifying:

a)  all relevant fee information including:
i)   fees that must be paid to the RTO; and
ii)  payment terms and conditions including deposits and refunds;

b)  the learner’s rights as a consumer, including but not limited to any statutory cooling-off period, if one applies;

c)  learner’s right to obtain a refund for services not provided by the RTO in the event the:
i)   arrangement is terminated early; or
ii)  the RTO fails to provide the agreed services.

QCI considerations

There are three parts to this clause.

(a) Pre-enrolment information
Check these are mentioned in the course information:

  • tuition fees
  • payment terms and conditions including deposits
  • any charges for resources
  • reference to government subsidy if appropriate

These must also be available, usually in the Handbook:

  • Refund policy and conditions for refund
  • Charges for re-assessment
  • Charges for re-issue of testamurs

(b) Consumer rights
Every time someone purchases goods and services, they are entering into a contract with the seller.The consumer has ‘statutory rights’ and these cannot be refused, changed or limited by the seller.

The enrolment form is a legally enforceable agreement between the RTO and the client. Once the learner engages with the RTO they have consumer rights under the Trade Practices Act (1974).

Good practice: Some RTOs include this statement on the enrolment form:
This agreement does not remove your rights under Australian Consumer Law.

(c) Right to a refund
Check that published pre-enrolment material includes information about:

  • Cancellation of a course by the learner
  • Cancellation of a course by your RTO

Scenario 1

XYZ RTO has an enrolment form with very comprehensive information, terms and conditions. It also carries this sentence. ‘This enrolment form is a legally enforceable agreement, and the enrollee agrees to waive all other rights and considerations.’

Is this sentence correct?

No. The enrolee has statutory consumer rights under the Trade Practices Act (1974) and these cannot be waived in this way.

Scenario 2

XYZ RTO takes full fees up front of a course. It has a policy that if this course is cancelled at any time for any reason after enrolment, by either the learner or the RTO, there is no refund. This information is included in pre-enrolment material.

Is this an acceptable position about refund for this course?

No. A blanket policy like this would be regarded as unfair.