ISP Outfit Fined $250K Over Misleading Net Access Packages
Internet services provider Internet Australian Private Networks, which trades as Activ8me, has copped a $250,000 fine for making false or misleading representations and not displaying a single price when advertising its Internet services, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has revealed.
The fine was imposed by the Federal Court, which also ordered that Activ8me offer to refund set-up fees and allow affected customers to exit or switch plans without being charged.
Activ8me admitted that between June and November 2018, it made false or misleading claims in three direct-mail advertisements and five online banner ads marketing its Opticomm fibre-to-the-premises packages.
The company told consumers they could access speeds of up to 100Mbps for $59.95 a month with no set-up fee. In fact, the $59.95 plan only offered speeds of 12/1Mbps and a set-up fee of $99.95 applied if the consumer did not sign up to a 12-month plan.
According to the ACCC, the true cost of Activ8me’s 100Mbps plan was $89.95 a month.
Activ8me also made a number of other false or misleading claims about price, the inclusion of “unlimited” data, speed and total minimum costs.
More than 81,000 direct mail advertisements were sent to consumers, 793 of whom acquired Activ8me’s Opticomm network FttP services during the relevant period.
Activ8me has agreed to send each affected customer a corrective notice and implement a consumer law compliance program. It’s not clear if the customers will get any money back.