Monday, 18 March 2019 05:30

ISP Activ8me hit with fine over false advertising

ISP Activ8me hit with fine over false advertising Image by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay

Internet service provider Activ8me has been fined $250,000 by the Federal Court for false and misleading advertising about its services and not displaying a single price in these ads.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took the company to court in December 2018. It said in a statement on Friday that Activ8me had also offered to pay back refund set-up fees and permit customers to discontinue their plans or else switch to others.

Activ8me made the misleading claims between June and November last year in three direct mail advertisements and five online banner ads, all of which plugged its Opticomm fibre-to-the-premises plans, in what was a breach of Australian Consumer Law, the ACCC said.

More than 81,000 direct mail advertisements were sent to consumers, and 793 customers joined Activ8me’s Opticomm services during six-month period.

Likely customers were told they could take out plans that offered up to 100Mbps speeds for $59.95 a month, with no set-up fee. This was a lie, since the plan in question only offered 12/1Mbps and a set-up fee of $99.95 was involved in the event that the customer did not sign up for a full year.

There were additional false claims made about price, unlimited data, speed and total minimum costs.

“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.

“Businesses are warned that misleading customers will result in ACCC action and potentially serious consequences.”she added.

Activ8me admitted it had contravened Australian Consumer Law, and the Court decision on penalties and other relief was based on a statement of agreed facts and submissions filed jointly by Activ8me and the ACCC.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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