Internet service provider TPG has been ordered to pay $2 million in penalties by the Australian Federal Court for false and misleading advertising in a recent ADSL2+ broadband promotion. The ruling was made following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
According to the Federal Court, TPG failed to prominently specify the minimum cost to consumers in its '$29.99 Unlimited ADSL2+' campaign. The plan required customers to purchase TPG's home line rental service for an additional $30 per month.
Earlier TPG advertisements also failed to disclose additional up front charges and did not prominently specify the minimum charge per month, the Federal Court found.
In his reasons for judgment, Justice Murphy noted that “the conduct was seriously misleading and affected a diverse class of users and potential users of broadband services”.
In addition to the $2 million fine, TPG was also ordered to publish corrective notices, to maintain a trade practices compliance program for 3 years and to pay the ACCC’s costs. The Court also imposed injunctions restraining TPG from engaging in similar conduct in future.
“This decision should send a strong warning to telecommunications and internet providers that they cannot continue to take risks in their advertising or they could end up in court and be exposed to substantial penalties,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.