Thursday, 28 March 2019 11:52

NZ’s Slingshot warned over misleading discount claims for broadband

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NZ’s Slingshot warned over misleading discount claims for broadband Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

New Zealand broadband provider Slingshot has been warned by the country’s competition regulator, the Commerce Commission, for likely breaches of the Fair Trading Act in an online advertising campaign offering consumers a 10% discount for bundling broadband and electricity services.

The campaign ran between July 2017 and May 2018 and the Commission says, in its view, was likely to mislead consumers by failing to make it clear that customers would only receive a 10% discount for bundled broadband and electricity services from Slingshot if they also paid their invoices by the due date.

Competition and Consumer general manager Antonia Horrocks says promotional offers and advertising of discounts that can confuse, and at times, mislead consumers, are concerning.

“It is vital that businesses clearly and accurately represent the key terms of offers made when marketing their products. Misleading representations about prices and discounts not only obstruct consumers from properly assessing the total cost of the service but can also unfairly attract them away from businesses who advertise their prices clearly,” Horrocks said.

“In this case, Slingshot provided information that disclosed the true conditions of the promotion but only once a consumer had nearly completed the online sign-up process. In the Commission’s view, Slingshot’s late disclosure of a key condition did not remedy the initial misleading representation that was made to consumers at large.”

The Commission says that in response to its inquiries, Slingshot had amended its website to clearly reflect that bundling and prompt payment were required to receive the 10% discount.

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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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