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ACCC seeks to take TPG to High Court over broadband ads

Consumer watchdog seeks to appeal decision over allegedly misleading ads by TPG

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is seeking special leave to take internet service provider TPG to the High Court.

The ACCC seeks to appeal the decision of the full bench of the Federal Court, which overturned a Federal Court judgement last year that found a series of TPG advertisements were misleading.

The case relates to TPG advertisements between September 2010 and November 2011 for the ISP’s $29.99 Unlimited ADSL2+ plan, which were found to be misleading by the Federal Court in June 2012.

The judge ruled that the ads gave consumers the impression they could sign up for a $29.99 ADSL2+ broadband plan when the plan was only available as a bundle with a telephone line, which cost an additional $30 per month.

The initial ads for the ADSL2+ plan were also found to be misleading by the judge because they conveyed that consumers would not need to pay a set-up fee when they were required to, costing an extra $79.95 or $129.95.

When TPG appealed the decision to the full bench of the Federal Court in December last year, the court found that the only misleading advertisements were television ads which were run in the initial advertising campaign.

It also found subsequent ads disclosed set-up fees “and in any case the ordinary or reasonable consumer would have known that these services are commonly bundled and that set-up charges are often applied,” according to a statement from the ACCC.

The appeals court also took issue with the $2 million fine handed to TPG and stated a $500,000 fine would have been adequate.

The ACCC is seeking special leave to appeal the court’s decision on both TPG's liability and the extent of the penalty.

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More about: ACCC, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, TPG
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