ACCC slaps iiNet over prices in ads

$204k the poorer, number three says sorry

Second-tier telco and major ISP iiNet has forked over AU$204,000 to settle infringement notices from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The notices were issued as a result of iiNet's advertising for its Naked Broadband 250GB plan, which the consumer watchdog says didn't “prominently state the total minimum price of the service”.

The ads correctly showed the $69.95 monthly price of the plan, along with the total price, but the ACCC says not enough prominence was given to the total cost.

“Prominence means that the total minimum price can be easily seen and strikes the attention of the consumer”, the ACCC's media statement explains.

The ads the regulator acted over were used in Melbourne on a tram and a billboard, and in particular, the ACCC says an advertisement on a vehicle will only be seen “momentarily”.

The ACCC has a long history of pursuing broadband and telecommunications advertising. iiNet probably had an eye to what happens when carriers fight back in the courts: for example, Optus copped a $5.26 million fine in 2011 in court, and TPG was ordered to pay $2 million by the Federal Court in 2012.

The ACCC notes that a decision to pay a penalty notice fine “is not an admission of a contravention” of the Australian consumer law. ®

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