Wilson Security to refund for security services not provided – ACCC

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30 May 2018

In a release by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) Wilson Security Pty Ltd (Wilson Security) will refund 320 Western Australian customers a total of $740,000, after charging for security patrols that were not provided in breach of Australian Consumer Law.

In response, the Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL) was made aware of the decision and has referred the matter to the Association’s Disciplinary Committee.

Wilson Security was contracted to provide internal premise security patrols. However in many cases, when replacing scheduled internal security patrols that had been missed, Wilson Security conducted external perimeter security patrols that are generally cheaper and less time consuming.

Approximately 48,000 missed internal premise security patrols were charged to customers between July 2011 and September 2017 in Western Australia.

“Wilson Security has admitted that by charging customers for services that were not provided, they engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“The ACCC was particularly concerned by this conduct because customers were unable to verify whether the services they were paying for were actually being delivered.”

“As a result of the ACCC’s investigation, affected customers will receive a full refund of the amounts they paid for internal security patrol services that were not provided by Wilson Security,” Ms Court said.

“The ACCC will not hesitate to take enforcement action against businesses that take payment but do not provide the services that they have promised to supply, particularly where customers are unable to check if the services have been supplied.”

Wilson Security has undertaken to make nationwide business improvements to staff training and the monitoring and recording of security patrol services.

The undertaking is available at Wilson Security Pty Ltd

Background:

Customers should contact Wilson Security for further information.

Wilson Security is a subsidiary of Wilson Parking Australia Pty Ltd and provides a range of security services throughout Australia.

After the ACCC started investigating, Wilson Security ceased the conduct and offered a court-enforceable undertaking to fully refund all affected customers.

Undertaking

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Wilson Security Pty Ltd (Wilson Security) in relation to charging customers for internal premise security patrols, which were not provided.

In Western Australia, in the period from July 2011 to September 2017, Wilson Security frequently replaced missed internal and semi-internal patrols with external security patrols without advising customers. During this period, there were approximately 48,000 missed internal and semi-internal patrols, affecting approximately 320 customers.

Wilson Security has admitted that by charging customers for these services, it engaged in conduct that was misleading or deceptive, or likely to mislead or deceive and made false or misleading representations in contravention of sections 18 and 29(1)(b) of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The relevant undertaking

To address the ACCC’s concerns, Wilson Security has provided the ACCC with an undertaking that requires it to, among other things, implement the following:

  • provide refunds to all customers who had an internal or semi-internal patrol service replaced by Wilson Security during the period 1 July 2011 to 17 September 2017;
  • a consumer law compliance program for its Australian security business; and
  • business improvement strategies to ensure that all staff are appropriately trained and  improved internal oversight and monitoring of its patrol services.
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