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TPG Win Case Against ACCC

The Federal Court has reportedly ruled against the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its court case against TPG, finding the company did not unfairly charge customers a non-refundable bond.

As reported by the Australian Financial Review, Justice David O’Callaghan ruled in his closing judgement that TPG had demonstrated the forfeiture term in question was necessary for the telco to protect its “legitimate interests”.

The case centred around allegations that TPG misled clients into making a $20 prepayment to cover any outstanding future costs, a move the ACCC claimed was ambiguous and unfair when the lawsuit was filed in December last year.

ACCC deputy chairman Delia Rickard said it was unacceptable for TPG to disclose the prepayment forfeiture in “fine print”, suggesting that a “reasonable consumer” would expect the $20 to be refunded if not used.

Justice O’Callaghan rejected claims made by the ACCC, concluding that consumers were not misinformed about the nature of the charges.

“The information displayed on the TPG website is not fleeting or momentary, but may be viewed and digested at whatever pace the individual consumer chooses”.

While the case has no direct connection to Vodafone, TPG merger challenge by the ACCC, Friday’s result does symbolise a win for the telecommunications giant in the lead up to the February 2020 decision.

The ACCC has been ordered to pay out costs for legal proceedings despite seeking penalties and compensation for consumers caught up in the prepayment cover.

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