Dominique Grubisa’s claims are going to be tested in court after the Federal consumer watchdog commences legal proceedings, as Dave Donovan reports.
ON FRIDAY, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced it had commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against property and wealth maven Dominique Grubisa and her company, Master Wealth Control Pty Ltd (trading as DG Institute).
The action brought by the ACCC alleges false or misleading representations made about the 'Real Estate Rescue' program and the 'Master Wealth Control' (asset protection) program sold by the company and spruiked by Grubisa. IA has published extensively about these programs.
The ACCC alleges Grubisa, the director and CEO of the company, was involved in misleading conduct.
In a statement released on Friday, deputy chair of the ACCC, Delia Rickard, said about the asset protection product:
'We allege that students of DG Institute could have faced significant financial harm by relying on the advice of, and using materials provided by, DG Institute and Ms Grubisa, to set up what was represented to be a Vestey Trust which would completely protect their assets, when that was not the case.'
In relation to the Real Estate Rescue program, Ms Rickard said:
'We allege that DG Institute and Ms Grubisa misrepresented to prospective students that the strategy taught in the Real Estate Rescue program would allow them to assist distressed homeowners to sell their property and retain some of the equity, when otherwise the homeowner would lose their equity if the bank repossessed, when this was not the case.'
An issue IA raised in our first article regarding Grubisa in August 2020.
In an archived post from the website of DGI Lawyers (since rebranded to Assure Lawyers) titled 'Protecting your consumer rights without hiring a lawyer', Grubisa said:
Did you know that if you’ve had a contract with someone that’s been breached or is unfair or you’ve been mislead [sic] and deceived, there is a quick and easy way for you to get a resolution and get awarded money without having to engage a lawyer and without having to go to court?
I want to share with you how you can access a tribunal for maximum power without the need of having to have a lawyer engaged to protect your rights without any a downside. It’s called the civil and administrative tribunal — it’ll be different in every state; in New South Wales, it’s the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal, in Queensland, it’s the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. You’ll hear it called NCAT in New South Wales. QCAT, VCAT in Victoria and so on.
The ACCC has jurisdiction to be a watchdog in Australia — it’s a government body that looks after the Australian consumer law or the ACL. It’s an active [sic] Parliament and it’s there to protect consumers, things that fall under this body of law: the Fair Trading Act, legislation to protect people where things go wrong, faulty or defective products or contracts that have been misleading and deceptive.
As a consumer, you have a whole lot of rights that the law is there to uphold for you, but what was realised is that the little guy has to spend a lot of money to take the big guy to court when something goes wrong. Often, when you don’t have the deep pockets, justice is never served because you can’t afford to access the system — the tribunal is set up to address that in imbalance, to give the little guy a voice.
Well, it seems that the little guy now has a voice via the ACCC who are not only seeking an order to disqualify Grubisa from managing a company for a period to be determined by the Federal Court but also declarations, injunctions, penalties and non-punitive orders (such as corrective publications and compliance programs). Importantly, the ACCC is also seeking “non-party” consumer redress orders — that is, orders for compensation for those affected.
Follow IA founder David G Donovan on Twitter @davrosz. Also, follow Independent Australia on Twitter HERE, on Facebook HERE and on Instagram HERE.
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