ABG Pages Fined For Illegal Conduct & False Advertising
The ACCC has penalised online business directory, ABG Pages, $300,000 for false and misleading representations about its advertising services, and breaching Australian Consumer Law.
ABG has admitted to engaging in “unconscionable conduct, undue harassment” and “making false and misleading representations” about its online advertising services.
The company commenced operations in 2009, and closed in 2016 following ACCC action.
The regulator also penalised ABG Director, Ms Michele McCullough, $40,000, and has imposed a five year ban from managing corporations.
Both McCullough and ABG Pages have admitted to breaching Australian Consumer Law by falsely stating many large businesses purchased their directory services, thereby misleading businesses into entering one [or more] contracts. In addition, both parties refused to cancel contracts that customers didn’t want or didn’t intend to enter.
ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper affirms ABG Pages “took advantage of businesses”, charging clients up to $9,000/per year for “an online business directory they did not want and that had no value”.
Ms McCullough and ABG Pages have jointly been ordered to pay $25,000 towards the ACCC’s costs. McCullough has been mandated to attend an ACL compliance program.
“ABG Pages used high pressure sales tactics to sell listings in its online business directory and harassed staff chasing debts that didn’t exist – one customer was called 993 times by ABG Pages over a nine month period”, states Dr Schaper.
“The Court’s judgement sends a clear message that ABG’s tactics are not legitimate business strategies. This conduct is unacceptable and businesses and individuals risk significant penalties if they’re also caught breaching the Australian Consumer Law.”