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Mobile Active stung for Bieber fraud fever

Fined $225k for dodgy ads

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Mobile ringtone and gaming provider Mobile Active has been busted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for false and misleading advertising practices from two of its subsidiaries Global One Mobile Entertainment and 6G.

A Federal Court has forced the company to pay fines totaling AUS$225,000 for the offences which involved four television advertisements selling what appear to be one-off products but were actually subscription based services.

The products included mobile phone ringtones from Justin Bieber and mobile games including Space Invaders.

The Federal Court found that the companies generated $58,064 in revenue from the ads, and unsurprisingly the Bieber promotion was responsible for more than half of the total sales.

This promo charged users a joining fee of $13.20 with the company collecting an additional payment of $6.60 every six days after signing up.

While the Bieber commercial had small text at the bottom of the screen stating it was a subscription service, the court found that the text was difficult to read and the explanation inadequate.

"The use of the word subscribe in my view was totally inadequate to inform the adult viewer, let alone a viewer under the age of 18, that what was being offered was a subscription to a broader service," Justice Annabelle Bennett said. Mobile Active said that it is considering appealing the decision.

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