It was the fear that his daughter could miss out on her dream of studying law at the University of Melbourne that convinced Khames Jumma to sign up, The Age reports.
A salesman had made an unsolicited visit to the family’s home in Sunshine West and was in their living room, pitching online tutoring products he claimed would lift Mr Jumma’s daughter Aza’s VCE grades.
Aza’s school, Braybrook College, was not a good enough school to help her get into law, the salesman said. Her father, a Sudanese refugee with limited English, could not help with her homework.
“He said, ‘You have to sign up if you want to get a good ATAR’, he just made it seem like you have to sign up,” 16-year-old Aza said.
The door-to-door salesman for Academy4Kids left with Mr Khammes’ signature on a 24-month contract for maths and English tutorials, costing $7777, including a 10 per cent upfront payment.
It was a big investment for Mr Jumma, a breadwinner with a net weekly income of $850. For the first few weeks it seemed like a good investment, as Aza logged on for extra assistance with her year 11 studies.
But by the end of the month – by which time the 10-day cooling-off period had passed – new study material was no longer loading onto the site, Aza said.
When she asked staff at the call centre why, they told her to wait a few days. Then she emailed the company asking to be released from the contract but received no reply.
Eventually, Mr Jumma wound up his account to put a stop to the direct debits.
He has since been issued with multiple debt notices and says he also gets regular calls from a private number demanding repayment.
Khames Jumma and his daughter Aza. CREDIT:JASON SOUTH