A Federal Court judge has decided that TPG should pay a whopping $2 million in penalties for failing to specify that the company’s $29.99 Unlimited ADSL2+ deal needed a bundled $30 home phone plan in its ads, but it’s not something the ISP is going to take laying down.
TPG was offering an unlimited ADSL2+ broadband deal, but the offer only applied when a customer took a $30 home phone plan with the ISP. The ACCC turned its nose up at TPG in December 2010, throwing the book at the ISP for the potentially misleading offer. TPG was found to be at fault in November and the Federal Court has now handed down a $2 million fine.
The judge presiding over the case, Justice Murphy, said in the judgement that such a high penalty was needed to discourage similar behaviour by ISPs in future.
Needless to say, the ACCC is pretty pleased with itself. Said ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims in a statement:
This decision should send a strong warning to telecommunications and internet providers that they cannot continue to take risks in their advertising or they could end up in court and be exposed to substantial penalties.
The ACCC is committed to taking a hard line to secure a culture of compliance by telecommunications providers and improve marketing in the telecommunications industry. The ACCC will continue to take court action in order to achieve this.
While this whole case has been going on, TPG has also copped a $13,200 fine for not disclosing all the fine print around its “free” VOIP minutes offer, while Optus, Foxtel and Dodo have also been hit with their own fines for varying infringements.
The ACCC might not want to crack the champagne yet, however, as TPG has told Gizmodo Australia that its preparing to appeal the decision.
TPG said today that it’s “disappointed at the penalty judgment of the Federal Court concerning the advertising of TPG’s unlimited broadband with home phone plans,” adding that ”it has given instructions to appeal both the original findings of the Court as to liability and the decisions about penalty”.
Does this change your view of the ISP you rated as your favourite in 2011?