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Beware of competitors pretending to be the FWO

Employer Alert: HR Firms Imitating the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO): It May Have Happened to  You!

Does this scenario sounds familiar? You have a Fair Work-related question so you search the  relevant terms online. Among the first few hits you find links to what appears to be the official  Commonwealth Government Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), and their phone-based advice service  called the 'Fair Work Infoline'.

You pick up the phone and speak to a person who purports to be an 'advisor' or 'consultant' at the  'Fair Work Information Line' (or similarly-named service). That person provides you with advice, but  then surprises you at the end of the call (after issuing you with a very official-sounding 'reference  number') by making it clear the service you've called only recommends one particular HR service in  Australia. Helpfully, they even offer to put you in touch with them.

Perhaps you think it's odd that a Commonwealth Government agency would recommend just one  private HR service? Or perhaps instead you're one of the many callers who is grateful for the helpful  referral and then not surprised when a few days later a follow-up sales call is received from that  private HR service.

There's just one problem: you never called the Fair Work Infoline, and the FWO never  recommended the HR service that's now calling you. 

In fact, when you called the cleverly-described number you found online, you were actually  connected to the inbound call centre of the HR service that's now calling you back after they recommended themselves to you! 

Over the past few months, we've encountered an increasingly large number of bookkeepers,  accountants and employers who genuinely think they've received HR advice from the official  Commonwealth Government-run Fair Work Infoline or who, worse still, have locked themselves in to  long-term and extremely expensive service contracts with an HR service they believe was endorsed  or otherwise officially recommended to them by the FWO.

This is completely unacceptable.

The team here at Workforce Guardian welcomes competition - it keeps us on our toes and ensures  we constantly strive to be the very best we can be. But competition should always be both fair and  ethical. That's how we've always done business, and that what we expect of others too.

If you believe you may have been misled into signing up to a particular HR service, or if you're now  one of the many employers being bombarded with follow-up calls and emails from an HR service  that won't take no for an answer, please let us know.

We've already compiled a long list of angry employers, and we'll be forwarding this information  through to the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission  (ACCC), and all state and territory Fair Trading ministers in due course.

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