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TPG fined $2 million for breaches of the Consumer Law

posted Jun 20, 2012, 12:01 AM by Austin Carwardine   [ updated Jul 4, 2012, 4:45 PM ]
The Federal Court has found that TPG Internet's $29.99 Unlimited ADSL2+ advertising campaign was misleading and in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act, and fined the company $2 million.  TPG is also required to run corrective advertising, and to maintain a formal trade practices compliance program for at least three years.  The court found that advertising for the ADSL2+ plan did not sufficiently disclose that the offer was only available when purchased with home line rental from TPG at an additional cost, and that some advertisements did not prominently specify the minimum charge and were misleading for not disclosing up-front charges.  

The judgment, and the ACCC's recent enforcement actions (which have included issuing a number of infringement notices), highlight the importance of an effective legal compliance program, with the stress on the word "effective".  Review of advertising and marketing material by a fearlessly independent legal practitioner, who is not "captured" by a company's sales and marketing function, is incredibly important in the context of a very active ACCC and a very onerous Competition and Consumer Act (including its Australian Consumer Law).  The updated TCP Code will also present significant challenges for all carriers and service providers.