$13,000 Fine For TPG

  • 500 free minutes had caveat attached
  • ACCC promises to be even more aggressive
  • Suppliers need to be more transparent

TPG Internet has paid two infringement notices totalling $13,200 in relation to advertisements for its ‘500 free VoIP Minutes’ offer which the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) believed to be misleading.

TPG advertised on its website that consumers who subscribed to a broadband bundle plan would receive 500 free minutes of VoIP calls. However, the offer was subject to terms and conditions which meant that a consumer would only receive 500 minutes of free VoIP calls if each and every call made had a minimum duration of 10 minutes. One of the advertisements also did not disclose that the call must terminate in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra or Perth.

“The advertising practice of fine-print qualification is one the ACCC is tired of correcting,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

The ACCC has repeatedly put the telecommunications industry on notice that it will not tolerate misleading advertising, and is concerned that consumers are regularly still not offered transparent and clear information about the price, terms and conditions for their services.

In response to continuing difficulties in securing a culture of compliance from the telecommunications providers, the ACCC remains committed to focusing on this industry.

“The ACCC will take an increasingly aggressive approach to send the message that this kind of misleading advertising will not be tolerated,” Mr Sims said.

The payment of infringement notice penalties is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws.

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