Australian telecommunications companies have been put on notice by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims, to ensure their advertising is clear and transparent.
Earlier in 2018, the ACCC began investigating telcos including Optus, Vodafone and Telstra and their use of the word ‘unlimited’ in relation to promotions within data plans.
The ACCC reported that between the months of March and June 2018, the three telcos advertised mobile data plans with ‘unlimited’ mobile data however these deals had speed caps imposed on users after a certain data threshold was reached.
- Optus’ ‘unlimited’ plan imposed a 1.5Mbps speed restriction on tethering, streaming and downloads. Heavy data users could also be deprioritised during congestion.
- Vodafone’s ‘unlimited’ plan provided an initial data allowance at usual speeds, after which all usage was speed capped at 1.5Mbps.
- Telstra’s ‘unlimited’ plans provided 40GB at usual speeds, after which all usage was slowed to 1.5Mbps and slowed further during busy periods.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims said: “Telecommunications companies should be wary of using absolute claims like ‘unlimited’ where that does not give a true picture to consumers of what is being offered.”
“We have taken a range of actions against telecommunication companies for misleading consumers. It is about time they showed more respect for their customers and the Australian Consumer Law.”
“With much higher penalties now available for breaches of consumer law, I hope they will take their obligations more seriously. From now on consumer law penalties will seriously affect their bottom line, and we will not hesitate to seek the highest possible penalties,” said Mr Sims.