SBDC e-news – July 2016 ACCC issues

ACCC issues Public Warning Notice over government grant website

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a Public Warning Notice to bring attention to the conduct of a business that targets unsuspecting small businesses looking for government assistance through grants.

Australian Business Funding Centre Pty Ltd, also known as Australian Business Financing Centre or ABFC, operates the website australiangovernmentgrants.org, which purports to offer access to an online database of Australian government grants and loans available to small businesses.

Businesses have paid fees ranging from $497 to $701 to access the database, only to find there are no suitable grants or that they are ineligible for the grants listed.

The Notice alleges ABFC has made false or misleading representations about the service’s capability and quality and the role it plays in assisting small business to gain government grant funding.

Similar websites targeting small businesses in other countries have also come to the attention of regulatory authorities in New Zealand and Canada. Despite australiangovernmentgrants.org including an Australian address, it is operated by ABFC’s sole director, who is based overseas.

The ACCC is warning any person looking to obtain government grant information, to seek legitimate, free information via a government website such as business.gov.au.