Members may have recently received a notice advertising the Australasian Health Professionals Directory (AUAHP) and asking you to update your details.
The unsigned cover letter advises you to update your details for inclusion in a ‘listing’ in the directory. The first line says ‘The basic data is published free of charge’.
This is not the case. The fine print provides that the listing will be for a minimum of 3 years, at $1300 per year, and will continue on for the following year after that if not cancelled within 3 months of the current contract period. There are a range of further concerns about the material that doctors have received:
- it is obviously from an overseas based entity
- there is no Australian ABN
- the website www.auahp.com does not exist, to the best of our knowledge
- there is a website for ‘United Directorios Lda’ but its legitimacy is questionable. There is no Australian directory listed on it
- a web search for ‘United Directorios Lda’ will provide some results which indicate concern in other countries regarding the activities of this organisation
- the ‘Data Protection Act’ referred to is not Australian law
- the publisher reserves the right to charge interest plus late payment fees for overdue accounts
- the place of the publisher’s registered office shall be the place of jurisdiction
- the publisher has the right to sue at ‘my place of jurisdiction’.
- the notice is not consistent with Australian law, and is unlikely to be consistent with international law
- the form requires a great deal of information from participants, and may put those who take part at risk of things such as identity fraud
Advice to members
This scam uses an established strategy to mislead recipients so that they sign the enclosed contract and then face demands for payment.
Those who receive this material should ignore it.
If you have signed up to the directory, you should immediately send a follow up communication rescinding your participation. Do not make any payment or provide credit card details. The more information you give, the more you expose yourself to risk.
If you are being contacted by AUAHP or a related entity seeking further information, such as credit card details, or payment of any kind, do not pay or provide those details. Contact the Office of Fair Trading in your state or territory.
It is extremely unlikely that any Australian court would uphold the legitimacy of these agreements, nevertheless, it is best not to get involved in the first place. If you receive demands for payment, you can contact your local state AMA for further assistance.
We have written to the Office of Fair Trading in every state and territory alerting them to this matter. As always, members should be very cautious about signing up to agreements that are from unknown or untrusted sources, from Australia and overseas. Often a basic enquiry will reveal sufficient detail to assist you to make an informed choice. If in doubt, contact the Office of Fair Trading in your state or territory, or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.