The national competition regulator today dragged national broadband provider TPG into the Federal Court, claiming its $29.95 ‘Unlimited’ ADSL2+ plan actually cost a great deal more.
The company’s current advertisements on its home page state the plan — which allows unlimited data downloads — costs $29.99 per month. The company also offers a range of other plans, with a 10GB plan available for just $9.99 and subsequent 100GB and 500GB plans as well.
However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today said TPG needed to go into more detail about the plan’s actual costs.
“The ACCC alleges that TPG’s advertisements for its $29.99 unlimited ADSL2+ broadband plan are false and misleading because the advertisements represent to consumers that they can buy unlimited ADSL2+ broadband services for $29.99 per month,” the regulator said in a statement. “In fact these services are only available when purchased together with home phone line rental from TPG at an additional cost of $30 per month, meaning that the minimum monthly charge payable is $59.99 not $29.99.”
In addition, the regulator stated, TPG’s advertisements did not adequately disclose two other up-front charges — a $129.95 broadband setup fee and a $20 home phone deposit. The regulator is seeking a declaration that the ISP contravened the Trade Practices Act, and is seeking pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and costs.
TPG’s web site does currently display the details that the ACCC has complained about, although it is not immediately clear if those details were added before or after the regulator’s complaint. It is also unclear whether the details were visible on the ISP’s advertisements in online and print media, and on the side of buses in some areas, for example.
TPG has been contacted by email and invited to make a response to the allegations.
The news comes as there has been a spate of legal action in the telecommunications sector relating to what some have claimed are misleading advertisements.
The ACCC also took Optus to court in June for playing fast and loose with the term “unlimited” on broadband plans which do have usage limits — and recently won. And the SingTel subsidiary this month, in turn, sued Vodafone in an attempt to get the telco to modify its advertisements referring to “Infinite” mobile plans.