Thursday, 15 October 2020 11:07

Amaysim, Lycamobile pay penalties over mobile phone plan allegations Featured

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Mobile phone services provider Amayism has paid a penalty of $126,000 and fellow mobile company, Lycamobile, a penalty of $12,600 for alleged false or misleading representations about their mobile phone plans.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) confirmed the penalty payments in a statement released on Thursday following its previous issuing of infringement notices to the two companies.

The ACCC alleges that each business separately misrepresented that their mobile phone plans were ‘unlimited’ in advertisements on social media designed to entice new customers, when in fact the plans had a maximum data allowance.

On or around 1 January 2020, amaysim published an advertisement on its Twitter account which included the statement ‘…your mother loves the Unlimited Mobile Data offer from amaysim’ and the hashtag ‘#UnlimitedMobileData’, which the ACCC alleges represented that the amaysim plans provided unlimited mobile data to consumers.

“In fact, amaysim’s advertised plans only provided an unlimited data allowance for the first three renewals and then would revert to a capped amount, with charges imposed if the data use by customers exceeded the capped amount,” the ACCC said.

On Lycamobile, the ACCC said: “On or about 29 November 2019, Lycamobile published an advertisement on its Facebook page which referred to ‘Unlimited Plan S’ and ‘Unlimited Plan M’, which the ACCC alleges represented to consumers that these plans would provide an unlimited data allowance. Each of Lycamobile’s ‘unlimited’ plans had a capped data allowance, and customers who exceeded that allowance were subject to additional charges.”

“The ACCC alleges that the messages in these advertisements breached Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and were likely to mislead consumers.”

“Consumers who saw the word ‘unlimited’ in the advertisements without any explanation of the limits of the plans were likely to expect they would not be charged additional fees for mobile data, no matter how much data they used,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“The telco industry has been previously put on notice that their advertisements must be clear and transparent, and must not contain claims like ‘unlimited’ without a clear and prominent disclosure of any qualification or exception which applies to the offer. We will continue to monitor mobile plan advertisements and won’t hesitate to enforce the law.”

“The amount of data included in a mobile phone plan is an important factor for many consumers in choosing a plan, and it is important that consumers can readily understand what they are signing up to,” Sims concluded.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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