The offending ads promoted Foxtel’s “Christmas Sale” which claimed users could get a TV subscription for $55 a month on a six-month contract.
However, the Christmas Sale ads also contained a small asterisk with fine print terms and conditions beneath, which effectively locked customers into a year contract with the cost of the “deal” increasing to $77 per month after the 6 months – a $22 hike.
The ads which ran nationally in November to December last were believed to be “misleading” and “false” and contravened Australian Consumer Law, according to the consumer watchdog, the ACCC.
Foxtel’s ad campaign, which ran on television, radio, newspaper and magazine, also online and in brochures, has now cost the TV giant $46,200 in infringement notice penalties paid to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims warned companies “the inclusion of an asterisk or a fine print disclaimer does not remove the potential for a headline to be misleading.”
“Companies must ensure that they do not use misleading headlines about the price and other key terms and conditions of the services being offered.
|“It is not enough for a company to try to correct a misleading headline using fine print text,” Sims added.
The payment of an infringement notice penalty is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law, according the ACCC.