Last year Foxtel ran an offer which seemed too good to be true. It was. It offered customers who subscribed to a 12 month plan between a free 22 inch neoniQ television within ten days of installation of their Foxtel service.
The offer was advertised in a nationwide campaign, which included television advertisements and direct marketing. It ran from 12 February 2012 to 5 April 2012. Problem was, many people who signed up to the offer did not receive their TVs within ten days of installation.
Indeed, most people who signed up never received a TV at all, because Foxtel advertised that the offer was limited to 1,300 free televisions. Despite this, it signed up nearly 8,400 subscribers to the promotion.
Not surprisingly the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) was not happy. It has said that Foxtel did not take sufficient steps to ensure that it could deliver on this promise, and has ordered it to give a subscription credit to affected providers.
“It is important for businesses to have a reasonable basis for any promises made to consumers otherwise they risk breaching the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. “Businesses must review claims made in advertisements to ensure they remain accurate at all times.”
Foxtel has undertaken to give a subscription credit, to current Foxtel customers who:
- subscribed to the free television offer between 12 February 2012 and 5 April 2012;
- were not sent a free television within ten business days after installation; and
- still had a Foxtel subscription as at 1 May 2013.
A month’s extra subscription is not worth quite as much as a TV (though Foxtel probably got them dirt cheap, but it’s something. Foxtel must now use its “best endeavours” to ensure that by 15 July 2013 these customers will receive one month's subscription credit, based on their subscription fee on 15 May 2013.
Foxtel has also undertaken to refrain from engaging in similar conduct in the future and to appoint a qualified compliance professional to conduct a review of any areas of its business where there is a risk of breaching competition and consumer laws.