In this radio interview, Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe tells 2UE Radio that Mr Samuel Cohen not only lied to the Tribunal, but also tried to mislead Fair Trading investigators in an attempt to throw Fair Trading Investigators off the track. Commissioner Stowe says that Mr Cohen (from the Institute of Hair Regrowth & Beauty) was successfully convicted in Court, adding that it is an important case because anyone who comes before CTTT is required to give truthful evidence. A separate media release about Sam Cohen  was distributed by Fair Trading, wherein Commissioner Stowe described Mr Cohen’s conduct as ‘reprehensible’. Sam Cohen’s criminal conviction is outlined in a separate article, if you click here . The background about his claim of a Bachelor of Science is outlined here . His attempt at an appeal is featured here .
The radio hosts also highlight the fact that a company’s name can, in itself, be misleading. Radio Hosts Murray Wilton and Murray Olds said that a company using the term ‘Institute’ can give a certain impression, when it might not be deserving of that title or name. Indeed, this question, of what the word ‘Institute’ within the name ‘Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty’ actually means, is address in a separate article, which you can read, if you click here .
The interview, that aired on Radio 2UE 954, included a discussion about how the Consumer Law can be harmonised. Mr Stowe said that he and other regulators are currently working closely with their counterparts in each State, including Commonwealth Departments, with a view to enforcing one single Consumer Law. Mr Stowe said a uniform approach will more easily allow Fair Trading investigators to pursue those who take advantage of the various laws. Commissioner Stowe said that Far Trading Minister, The Hon Anthony Roberts MP, is leading the charge in NSW, where $1.4 million has been committed to such a project.
Below is a transcript of the except from that radio interview:
2UE Radio Hosts: Now a few things to cover off tonight. Hair loss. I don’t think Shane Warne was involved with this. I’m not sure who does his hair these days. But much close to home, a bloke who was selling hair loss treatments has had a visit from the name’s Stowe, Rod Stowe.
Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe: Well certainly Fair Trading; and this particular person’s name is Samuel Cohen and he’s the managing director of the Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty Pty Ltd. He was involved in a matter in the Tribunal and in giving evidence before the tribunal he indicated that he had certain tertiary qualifications and those were challenged and as a consequence of our investigations we were able to prove to the Court that he indeed did not have those qualifications and he was convicted of giving false information to the Tribunal. So this is an important case I think because it shows that people, when they come before the Tribunal, are required to be truthful and to provide correct information and in this particular case, Mr Cohen had indicated that he had I believe a degree in…
2UE Radio Hosts: A BSc in Hair.
Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe: A Bachelor of Science. And when we were actually investigating, he even provided us with misleading documents to try and throw us off the tracks but we successfully prosecuted him through the Courts and as I say, I think it’s an important message that when you come before that Tribunal you are required to provide your evidence in a truthful way and those businesses who don’t will certainly be pursued by Fair Trading.
2UE Radio Hosts: Can I ask you, and only because I’ve registered business names in the past, and it always worries me that when you see a name advertised, sometimes depending what the name is, there’s an assumption that that is THE ONE organisation that you would go to because it’s been endorsed. And there’s almost that automatic endorsement because it’s got the word, either Australia in it, or International, or Institute, or Federation. And there’s nothing wrong with me going and registering the name, you know the Australian International Institute of Media, is there? And people see that and they think, holy mackerel, that sounds really impressive. Whereas it might just be Muz and I running it which would make it not very impressive at all. And I just wonder, has that ever been discussed about the words people use in their business name…
Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe: Yes it has. In fact there are a number of words that cannot be used at all, unless they’ve to the explicit approve of the Minister. So there are things like the Chamber of Commerce, University, those sorts of things, certain words; ANZACs I know for instance is one of those words. Because of that very fact because it does lend some authenticity, some connection sometimes to government and there is a list of those words that are prohibited, unless they are explicitly approved by the Minister. So that is actually an attempt to overcome some of those problems that you allude to. People are in a situation where they think they might be dealing with somebody who is representing themselves as something they aren’t…
*[Editor’s note: Shane Warne is associated with Advanced Hair Studio]
ABOUT COMMISSIONER ROD STOWE
Mr Rod Stowe was appointed the Commissioner for NSW Fair Trading on the 4th of July 2011. In a media release, Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts said that Mr Stowe’s extensive experience gained through over 30 years of public service makes him a perfect fit for the high profile consumer protection role.
‘I’m delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Rod Stowe PSM as NSW Fair Trading Commissioner. Mr Stowe is an experienced and passionate advocate of Fair Trading in NSW.
‘Fair Trading’s contribution to consumer-confidence and ethical business practice are integral to achieving a vibrant and expanding NSW economy.’
Minister Roberts said that Commissioner Stowe is well placed to deal with the future challenges facing Fair Trading because the Commissioner has worked in the portfolio for over 22 years.
‘Rod has made a significant contribution as an outstanding leader in policy, operational and regulatory review roles.
‘Some of his career highlights while at Fair Trading include the national implementation of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code and overseeing the consumer protection strategy for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
‘In more recent times, as Deputy Commissioner at NSW Fair Trading, Rod has overseen the critical National Reform and has been invaluable in driving the initiatives of the Council of Australian Governments including the implementation of the Australian Consumer Law and the National Occupational Licensing System.’
Minister Anthony Roberts said that Commissioner Stowe has consistently driven Fair Trading towards delivering better outcomes for consumers.
‘Mr Stowe has served the community of New South Wales with distinction, and I look forward to working with him to deliver a clear public focus for consumer protection in NSW into the future,’ added the Minister.
You can learn more about NSW Fair Trading by visiting its website .