Dynamic Business Logo
Home Button
Bookmark Button

Optus broadband advertising ‘misleading and deceptive’ court finds

Optus engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct when advertising Optus Broadband’s “Thing Bigger” and “Supersonic” internet plans, the Federal Court Sydney has found.

Optus BroadbandThe Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleged in court that Optus engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false representations in relation to the advertising of certain broadband plans as part of its ‘Think Bigger’ and ‘Supersonic’ promotional campaigns

Optus’ ‘Think Bigger’ and ‘Supersonic’ campaign broadband plans involve a customer paying a monthly sum to receive a certain data allowance to use in the month which is split into both peak and off-peak periods. Optus however, will limit a customer’s internet connection to 64kbps once the peak allowance is exceeded. This is a widespread practice amongst ISP’s, however the ACCC alleged that Optus did not sufficiently or clearly disclose, and in some cases did not disclose at all, these qualifications

Justice Perram found Optus’ television advertisements “misleading, in my opinion, seriously so.”

Further, when considering injunctions against Optus running similar advertisements in the future, Justice Perram stated that, “the contravention here is a serious one and the public should be protected from any further repetition of it.”

Optus believed that the advertisements were not misleading because customers had any misapprehensions corrected through the Optus’ call centre or website before they signed up for a plan.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel warned that this behaviour is not acceptable commercial practice, nor is it in accordance with the law.

“Companies cannot rely on their call centres to correct advertisements that have misled and deceived people.” Mr Samual said.

“Consumers were told in these ads that they were going to get a certain amount of broadband, and only after you work through confusing and vague disclaimers that you realise that it’s just not the case. Consumers and the ACCC are, frankly, tired of telcos using complex, confusing and deceptive advertising to fool consumers. This should serve as yet another reminder, that if these companies don’t clean up their act, the ACCC will be here to take you to task, and you can expect to be hit with the full force of the law.”

The ACCC is also awaiting judgment in its proceedings against Optus in Melbourne, in which the ACCC has alleged that the use of the word “unlimited” in a number of Optus broadband advertisements was misleading and deceptive.

What do you think?

    Be the first to comment

Add a new comment

David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

View all posts