ACCC: Big Players Amend Promo Material

  • Confusion over what ‘wifi-ready’ means
  • Companies agree to amend ad copy
  • Wifi costs extra $100-$120

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has managed to get five top-end CE companies – LG, Panasonic, Sony, Sharp and Samsung – to agree to amend their promotional material after the ACCC raised concerns about the use of the terms wifi ready and 'Wireless LAN Ready' without informing consumers about the need to purchase an additional wifi adaptor.

The manufacturers will either remove the terms wifi ready or wireless LAN ready from their promotional material and websites, or if those terms (or similar terms) do appear, they will be accompanied by prominent statements such as 'USB Wireless LAN adaptor required', ‘wifi capable with optional adaptor' or 'wireless LAN adaptor required, sold separately'. ACCC chairman Rod Sims said consumers now have greater certainty when purchasing audiovisual products capable of accessing the internet via a home network.

"Consumers should be confident that any claim of wifi Ready' or 'wireless LAN ready' means exactly that, unless clearly stated that an additional adaptor is required,” says Sims. “While some televisions, known as 'smart TVs', and Blu Ray players are capable of accessing the internet wirelessly, many other models claim to be wifi-ready' or 'wireless LAN ready' when in fact an extra wifi adaptor or 'dongle' is required. Wifi is a technology that allows electronic devices to exchange data wirelessly over a computer network, including high speed internet connections.

"The ACCC considered that the term 'ready', when used in promoting audio-visual products, is widely understood by consumers to mean the product is capable of accessing wifi, without the need to purchase any further device.”

The ACCC took action after receiving a complaint from a consumer who had purchased a TV promoted in a retail store as 'wireless LAN ready' believing that once the TV was installed, he would be able to wirelessly access the existing home network and internet connection. Instead, after connecting the TV, a message appeared on the screen stating

The consumer contacted the manufacturer and was told that a wifi adaptorwas needed before the TV could access the home wifi and that the wifi adaptor would costan additional $100 to $120.

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