Australian Private Networks will pay a Federal Court-imposed $250,000 fine after admitting to making false or misleading claims in a series of advertisements.
In addition the company, which trades as Activ8me, will offer to refund affected customers’ setup fees as well as allow them to switch plans or exit their contracts.
The fine relates to claims made in 81,000 direct mail ads sent to consumers and a number of online ads issued by the telco between June and November for Opticomm fibre to the premises (FTTP) services.
“Activ8me told consumers they could access speeds of up to 100Mbps for $59.95 a month with no setup fee,” the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said. “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 true cost of Activ8me’s 100Mbps plan was $89.95 per month.”
In addition the ACCC said the telco made other false or misleading claims about pricing, the inclusion of ‘unlimited’ data, speed, and the total minimum cost to a consumer.
“The misleading representations by Activ8me were blatantly wrong and misled hundreds of customers into signing up to internet services which were at a different price or speed than they expected” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said in a statement.
The ACCC in December announced it was taking legal action against Activ8me over its conduct.
It is not the first time the company has strayed into the sights of the ACCC over advertising. In March last year it was hit with a $12,600 fine over ads that the ACCC said implied the consumer watchdog endorsed its services. Four months later the company altered its ads for NBN fixed wireless services after the ACCC took issue with them.