ACCC suffers initial setback in TPG case


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been dealt in a blow in its lawsuit against national broadband provider TPG over the company’s $29.99 ‘Unlimited’ ADSL2+ plan, with the judge in the case denying the regulator’s application to freeze TPG’s advertisments until the case is finalised.

The ACCC took TPG to court last week, claiming it had not adequately disclosed the full cost of the $29.99 plan.

But according to a statement issued by TPG late this afternoon, Justice Ryan denied the regulator’s application for what is called an ‘interlocutory injunction’ — a legal instrument to prevent an action taking place while a case is being heard.

“I do not regard the ACCC’s case for final relief on the present state of the evidence, as a strong one,” Ryan told the Court, according to TPG’s statement. The full transcript is not yet available, and the ACCC has not yet responded to a request for comment on the matter, meaning the full court action at today’s proceedings is not yet known.

TPG general manager of sales and marketing Craig Levy said the company was “pleased” with the outcome. “Thousands of consumers are today enjoying TPG’s great value internet and phone services,” he said. “We will continue to fairly bring these and other services to the attention of consumers into the future.”

In the case, the ACCC is alleging that the ads for TPG’s $29.99 plan are “false and misleading” because the broadband provider didn’t adequately disclose additional compulsory costs — such as home phone line rental from TPG at an additional cost of $30 per month, 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.

However, 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 to what extent 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.

Image credit: Asif Akbar, royalty free


  1. The more I think back on the all the ads I have seen.

    I think they might have a shot with the $20 deposit. Maybe, just maybe with the setup fee, though I can’t recall seeing an ad without it mentioned.

    but the phone thing… I’m calling bullshit. The only way it could be out there without under the tpg brand is by misprint or defacement. I just refuse to believe tpg would be that stupid.

  2. When I looked into that TPG deal months ago, all those costs were shown. Not quite sure what more the ACCC could ask for.

    A much better case could be made where ADSL+ prices don’t show that you need to pay for a telstra line, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

  3. Its all in the small print which contravenes the ACCC rules (are they law?) on how service providers should sell their products. In fact the Communication Alliance (aka ACIF) were pushing the industry code to provide in normal point (font size) the main price conditions of the advertised offering.

    Most consumers would see $29.95, ring the 13xx number and bam would be told after giving 10 points of ID and going through a convoluted pre-qualification that they would have to pay $20 plus the $120 setup and would have to churn their eBill service over.

    depending on the high pressure sales tactics most people would be rightly upset that they were almost tricked into the deal.

    that of course if the sales person even told em the setup and deposit fee.

    TPG have a churn and burn employment strategy, get the youngest kids in the door and pay em nothin whilst burning through them with terrible conditions.

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