New Zealand watchdog, the Commerce Commission, has filed 37 charges against the Auckland Academy of Learning Limited (AAL) following allegations of misrepresentation.
The charges allege that misrepresentations were made by staff who sold AAL’s educational software package, CAMI, while also claiming that AAL breached consumer credit and direct selling laws.
The Commission alleges AAL was invited into the homes of consumers so that their school aged children could receive a “complimentary evaluation and tutoring session,” when in fact the purpose of the visit was for AAL to sell them CAMI.
When in the consumers’ homes, AAL made representations about the need for the CAMI software after AAL carried out a maths based “educational assessment” of school children in the household.
AAL sales scripts claimed the assessment would demonstrate what the child was learning and understanding at school and if there were any “missing concepts.”
The Commission alleges, however, that the “educational assessment” did not correspond with the New Zealand curriculum and did not demonstrate the child’s learning or understanding because the assessment was inadequately set for the level of learning that AAL said they were assessing.
Two of the Commission’s charges relate to AAL’s alleged failure to tell consumers, before the agreements were entered into, that they had a right to cancel the uninvited direct sales agreement.
Other allegations by the Commission include that AAL failed to disclose key information about the credit provided for the CAMI software programme with the amounts paid for the software ranging from $6,000 to $11,000.
According to the Commission, which received over 180 complaints about AAL, the price of the programme was also misrepresented in some instances.
The majority of these complaints were received after a series of stories about AAL on current affairs show Campbell Live between October 2014 and March 2015.