The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has rapped Telstra over the knuckles to the tune of $102,000 today, following the placement of misleading ad for the iPhone 6.
The ad was for Telstra’s iPhone 6 on the one of the carrier’s Mobile Accelerate plan, displayed in The Age. The ad prominently featured a price of $70 per month for the device and plan, when actually the plan featured a mobile repayment option of $11 per month, taking the total price up to $81 per month. Telstra disclosed the MRO, but only in the fine print, below the banner price of $70.
The ACCC has issued an infringement notice to Telstra, saying that the telco misrepresented the price of the bundle to its customers via the ad.
ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, said in a statement:
Businesses must be careful about using attention grabbing headline prices to ensure that their advertisements do not mislead consumers about the actual price they will have to pay. This is especially the case for bundled goods and services like phones and plans.
The ad means that Telstra is going to be $102,000 poorer this Christmas.
Update: Telstra has responded to the fine notice, saying it was “surprised” to receive the infringement notice.
We were surprised to receive the infringement notice, as our ads prominently stated the mobile plan cost, the handset cost and the total minimum cost as legally required, and were in line with the way many others in the industry advertise mobile plans with handsets. The ad in question was displayed in a full newspaper page so all the text was much larger.
Even though we are strongly of the view our ads complied with the law, we have paid the notice. In addition, we’ve made some changes to our advertising to make it even clearer to customers what they will pay each month for a plan and handset. We now consider this matter closed.
We think there is scope for these sorts of issues to be resolved in the future through constructive engagement between industry and the regulator, rather than through the use of formal enforcement mechanisms.