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Marketing Giant Appco Facing $85m Class Action

Young workers have allegedly been ripped off by the company.

22/10/2016 9:03 AM AEDT | Updated 22/10/2016 9:04 AM AEDT
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Appco is being targeted by former workers in a huge class action.

Thousands of allegedly underpaid young Australian workers are taking aim at Appco Group as part of a massive class action lawsuit against the charity fundraiser.

Up to 8,000 Appco workers are set to launch the $85 million class action in the Federal Court against the direct sales marketing company that engages with many high-profile Aussie charities and NGOs.

The Chamberlains Law Firm action will allege that Appco shortchanged workers by up to a whopping $85 million. The law firm will also argue that the company used sham "independent contracting" or "sole trading" arrangements.

The case against Appco is also expected to argue that the Appco engagement model is actually a pyramid scheme that sees a participant's progress within the Appco Group linked to the recruitment of new members to Appco.

The lawsuit is important because Appco is said to claim it is "the largest face-to-face donor recruitment agency in the world". It has reportedly worked with clients including Starlight Children's Foundation, Camp Quality and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The Australian Paralympic Committee, Surf Life Saving Australia.

Appco has an estimated workforce of around 2,500 people. The company has been sought for comment.

Lead applicant Jacob Bywater, 21, told the ABC he was only paid $29,000 in 2013/14, despite working over 80 hours per week.

Chamberlains lawyer Rory Markham told Fairfax Media Appco's actions represented "one of the most systematic and largest underpayment disputes in Australian history, with the victims being young Australians, generous donors, charities and the taxpayers".

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