Telcos Put On Notice About False & Misleading Advertising

Telcos Put On Notice About False & Misleading Advertising
SHARE
THIS



The ACCC has warned telecommunications companies about ensuring their advertising is clear and transparent, or face court action from the regulator.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said this action could include much higher penalties, and the competition watchdog may bring proceedings against executives who knowingly approve misleading advertisements.

“Telecommunications companies should be wary of using absolute claims like ‘unlimited’ where that does not give a true picture to consumers of what is being offered,” he said.

“We have taken a range of actions against telecommunication companies for misleading consumers. It is about time they showed more respect for their customers and the Australian Consumer Law.

“With much higher penalties now available for breaches of consumer law, I hope they will take their obligations more seriously. From now, on consumer law penalties will seriously affect their bottom line, and we will not hesitate to seek the highest possible penalties.”

Earlier this year, the ACCC began investigating Optus, Vodafone and Telstra’s use of the term ‘unlimited’ to promote mobile data plans, concurrent with private litigation brought by Optus against Telstra in the Federal Court.

Between March and June 2018, Optus, Vodafone and Telstra advertised mobile data plans with a headline claim of ‘unlimited’ mobile data, but the services had speed caps imposed on particular uses or after a certain data threshold was reached (among other limitations).

Optus’ ‘unlimited’ plan imposed a 1.5Mbps speed restriction on tethering, streaming and downloads. Heavy data users could also be deprioritised during congestion.

Vodafone’s ‘unlimited’ plan provided an initial data allowance at usual speeds, after which all usage was speed capped at 1.5Mbps.

Telstra’s ‘unlimited’ plans provided 40GB at usual speeds, after which all usage was slowed to 1.5Mbps and slowed further during busy periods.

The ACCC viewed these headline claims were, in most cases, qualified with disclaimers that were not sufficiently prominent or clear to explain to consumers the existence and impacts of the limitations.

The court considered Telstra advertisements with the tagline “One word for Australia’s best mobile network. Unlimited”, and found they were misleading or deceptive in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.

The court found they falsely conveyed to consumers that Telstra provided plans offering unlimited usage of its mobile network when in fact its services, including mobile data services, were always subject to use limitations and exclusions.

Following the Federal Court’s findings and the ACCC’s interactions, all three retailers ceased using the headline claim of ‘unlimited’ to advertise their mobile data services.

Latest News

Aussie Pooch Mobile Embracing Localised Approach To Its Online Presence
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Aussie Pooch Mobile Embracing Localised Approach To Its Online Presence

Aussie Pooch Mobile recently took out the number one spot in the Marketing category of this year’s Topfranchise Awards organised by 10 Thousand Feet Research and online marketplace SEEK Business. B&T sat down with Aussie Pooch Mobile’s marketing manager, Tracy Sullivan, to chat about the strategy behind their success. Why have you focused on online […]

B&T’s Research Agency Of The Year, Nature, Unveils Sydney Move
  • Marketing
  • Media

B&T’s Research Agency Of The Year, Nature, Unveils Sydney Move

Independent research consultancy, Nature, has announced an interstate expansion with the establishment of a Sydney office in the New Year. The announcement comes off the back of the business being recognised as Research Agency of the Year at the B&T Awards in November. According to Nature’s founder and managing director, Chris Crook, the move is a natural […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Paper Moose & Skillsroad Tackle Youth Unemployment
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Paper Moose & Skillsroad Tackle Youth Unemployment

The NSW Business Chamber’s Skillsroad initiative has teamed up with independent makers agency Paper Moose to create an immersive, multi-touchpoint virtual reality experience. The initiative is an  effort to raise young Australians’ awareness of apprenticeships and traineeships for various careers. The digital experience, funded by the NSW Government Department of Industry, brings viewers into the […]

QMS NZ Finalises MediaWorks Merger
  • Media

QMS NZ Finalises MediaWorks Merger

QMS Media Limited has finalised terms for the merger of its New Zealand out-of-home, digital media and production business (QMS NZ) with MediaWorks, New Zealand’s leading independent radio, TV and digital business. The merger on completion will establish the newly combined QMS and MediaWorks as the largest multi-media advertising group in the country. In late […]

Headspace Australia Launches Instagram Campaign For Year 12 Students
  • Media

Headspace Australia Launches Instagram Campaign For Year 12 Students

Australian celebrities and creators are sharing their support for Year 12 students this week, in a new initiative from Instagram and headspace Australia. Launched today ahead of end-of-school exam results, #GramFam Australia features messages from ARIA winner Amy Shark, TV presenters including Lisa Wilkinson and Sandra Sully, comedian Peter Helliar, Home & Away star Olivia […]

oOh!media & Adshel Combined Business Reaches 90% Of Aussie Audiences
  • Media

oOh!media & Adshel Combined Business Reaches 90% Of Aussie Audiences

oOh!media’s audience reach has extended to well above 90 per cent of the Australian population with the integration of Adshel’s assets into the business, according to analysis of audience data. The audience reach data was announced as oOh! rebrands the Adshel assets to Commute by oOh!. Audience data from MOVE shows oOh!’s reach is unmatched […]

iHeartRadio & Surf Life Saving NSW Revive ‘Surf Life Sounds’ For Summer
  • Media

iHeartRadio & Surf Life Saving NSW Revive ‘Surf Life Sounds’ For Summer

The Australian Radio Network’s iHeartRadio Australia has teamed up with Surf Life Saving NSW (SLS NSW) for another year of ‘Surf Life Sounds’. The digital radio station features a mix of this summer’s hits, providing the official soundtrack to a safe summer at the beach while celebrating Australian beach culture. The Surf Life Sounds name […]

Sky News Bolsters Editorial Team With Two New Hires
  • Media

Sky News Bolsters Editorial Team With Two New Hires

Sky News today announced further expansion and investment in its editorial leadership team with the appointment of two new roles across its newsroom operations. Experienced television news director, Chris Willis has been appointed to the newly created leadership position of executive editor of news and talk. In this senior editorial role, Willis will have overall responsibility […]