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ACCC Fines BVivid Telco For Misleading Cold Calls

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has fined a telco for misleading consumers over NBN connections, but the company appears to be linked to at least two others with a track record of telemarketing violations.

Between October 2017 and May 2018, Melbourne-based BVivid cold-called consumers and told them they’d lose their internet connection and phone number if they didn’t immediately connect to the NBN.

Consumers typically have around 18 months to switch to the NBN after it becomes available in their area.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Judi Jones welcomed the decision.

“Consumers are being told information about moving to the NBN that is simply not true and puts them at a disadvantage.

“This is concerning behaviour from a small group of phone and internet providers and should stop,” Ms Jones said.

ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said BVivid misled customers and didn’t meet their obligations to consumers.

“BVivid’s calls likely misled consumers and gave them a false sense of urgency and need.”

BVivid also admitted to breaching Australian consumer law protections around unsolicited consumer agreements, which are supposed to come with a 10 business day cooling off period to protect consumers being pressured by cold-callers.

BVivid also failed to provide an official form customers could use to cancel their service and didn’t include their business address on agreements.

There is also no address readily listed on the company’s website.

Its domain name is registered to a Simon Yu on a Clarus Telecom address.

Clarus Telecom was found to have engaged in false and misleading conduct by the Federal Court in 2008.

In that instance, telemarketers cold-called customers and misled them into thinking Clarus and its services were affiliated with or provided by Telstra.

The Clarus Telecom domain now redirects to the website for another telco called Teleus, whom the Australian Communications and Media Authority found had violated the Do Not Call Register Act in 2013.

Teleus is a trading name for a registered Australian business comprised of a number of family trusts, including the Simon Yu family trust, and the Sheeran Family Trust.

Marcus Sheeran’s LinkedIn lists him as director of Teleus, and before that of Clarus Telecom.

BVivid has paid $25,200 in penalties to the ACCC.

Simon Yu has been contacted for comment.

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