Thursday, 06 December 2018 00:11

Activ8me fronts court again over misleading consumer allegations Featured

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Activ8me fronts court again over misleading consumer allegations Image courtesy of JanPietruszka at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The competition watchdog, the ACCC, has initiated court action against Internet provider Activ8me for allegedly making false or misleading representations over advertising of its broadband services.

The latest action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is the second time this year it has taken enforcement action against Activ8me — the trading arm of Australian Private Networks — for engaging in conduct that it alleges is misleading.

In the latest court action, announced on Wednesday, the ACCC alleges that, between June and October, Activ8me breached Australian Consumer Law when it made the false or misleading claims in three direct mail advertisements and five online banner advertisements marketing its Opticomm fibre-to-the-premises packages.

“Activ8me sent thousands of advertisements with allegedly false or misleading claims about the speed, data limits and costs of its internet services,” said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.

The ACCC, which has initiated action in the Federal Court, alleges that Activ8me made false and misleading representations when it told consumers they could access speeds of up to 100Mbps for $59.95 a month with no set-up fee. In fact, the $59.95 plan only offered speeds of 12/1Mbps and a set-up fee of $99.95 applied if the consumer did not sign up to a 12-month plan.

The ACCC says Activ8me also told consumers that they would receive unlimited data, when in fact Activ8me could suspend access or charge more for data use it deemed "unreasonable".

“This is the second time this year that the ACCC has taken enforcement action against Activ8me for engaging in conduct that we allege is misleading, after we issued an Infringement Notice for false or misleading claims in March,” Rickard said.

“Our decision to take court proceedings this time shows how seriously the ACCC takes Activ8me’s further conduct.”

The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, a corrective notice, consumer redress, a compliance program and costs.

The consumer watchdog has taken action against a range of telecommunications companies in relation to Internet services, including misleading broadband speed claims by Telstra, Optus, TPG, Dodo, iPrimus and Commander, MyRepublic and iiNet and Internode.

And the ACCC has also taken action against Optus in relation to the transition to the NBN.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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