iiNet Pays Penalties Of $204,000 For Ad Breach
The ACCC stated the notices were issued because it had reasonable grounds to believe iiNet’s advertisements contravened the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by failing to prominently state the total minimum price of the service.
The advertisements appeared on a tram and billboard in metropolitan Melbourne in November 2014, displaying a monthly price of $69.95 for iiNet’s Naked Broadband 250 GB plan. The advertisement included the total minimum price, however the ACCC stated it considered it was not displayed in a prominent way, as required by the ACL.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims stated “consumers must be able to understand the true cost of an advertised product”, allowing them to make informed purchasing decisions.
“Businesses must ensure that when they advertise part of the price of a good or service, the total minimum price is also prominently displayed,” Sims commented.
“Prominence means that the total minimum price can be easily seen and strikes the attention of the consumer. In assessing whether the total minimum price is prominent, it is important to consider the context in which the advertisement appears – for example, if the advertisement is on a moving vehicle, where consumers may only be able to see the advertisement momentarily.”
The ACCC stated consumer protection in the telecommunications sector remains an enforcement priority.
Last year, Telstra paid a $102,000 penalty for an infringement notice in relation to an iPhone 6 advertisement that the ACCC considered made a false or misleading representation as to the total price payable by consumers.
The High Court in 2013 upheld a decision ordering TPG to pay a $2 million penalty to the ACCC in relation to misleading advertisements, with the ACCC stating the advertisements gave the impression consumers could acquire TPG’s Unlimited ADSL2+ broadband internet service for $29.99 per month, when it could only be acquired with a bundled home telephone line for an additional $30 per month plus start-up costs.