'Max Cap' lands Optus in Hot Water

19 05 2011

The ACCC has fined Singtel Optus Pty Ltd $178,000 for misleading conduct arising out of its ‘Max Cap’ marketing campaign.

The ACCC’s view is that the Optus’ Max Cap advertisements:

….gave the impression that a consumer could purchase these cap plans and expect to pay a maximum specified amount per month, when in fact the specified amount was the minimum the consumer would pay each month.

The advertisements at issue contained the Max Cap $49, which wasn’t a cap, but rather the minimum a customer would need to spend.

In commenting on the conduct of concern to the ACCC, acting ACCC Chairman Mr Peter Kell said:

If you advertise a service as a ‘$49 Max Cap’ when $49 is the minimum that consumers have to pay, then you risk breaching the law by misleading consumers about the cost of the service,” and “Claims that a service allows consumers to call ‘anyone’ are likely to be misleading if the reality is that some types of calls are excluded“.

All ISPs and Telcos should have a process in place to review advertisements, not only to ensure compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 but also the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.

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