This story by Jo Skinner originally appeared on ABC News and can be viewed here.
A Christian-based charity on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast has admitted it is guilty of false, misleading and deceptive conduct.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says Mercy Ministries has apologised for misrepresenting its services and repaid almost $120,000 to affected women.
The charity ran two homes for young women in need at Glenview on the Sunshine Coast and in Sydney, both have since closed.
ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel says Mercy Ministries advertised its services were free but then asked residents to sign over their Centrelink payments in return.
“We found that misrepresentations were occurring,” he said.
“Firstly as to whether or not the services provided by Mercy Ministries was free when clearly it was not,” he said.
“There was an assignment of Centrelink payments to Mercy Ministries for the duration of the stay of those that used their services.
“Also Mercy Ministries misrepresented that it offered professional support from qualified specialists when in fact that was not the case.”