The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against TMG Asia Pacific Pty Ltd for alleged false, misleading and deceptive conduct in contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
The ACCC alleges that in three of its television advertisements for its 'Text and Win' mobile premium services*, TMG failed to adequately disclose the costs and terms associated with the services and that this was likely to mislead consumers.
The three advertisements in question – Cash Cup, Mac Air** and Shell Game – were run on pay and free to air television earlier this year.
The advertisements offered viewers a chance at winning a prize by texting in a response to TMG's 194060 number.
The ACCC alleges that these advertisements failed to adequately disclose:
- that to be eligible for the prize, participants were required to pay a $5 joining fee and respond to a maximum of 10 quiz questions at $5 each
- participating in the quiz also resulted in the consumer signing up to a subscription quiz consisting of six SMS messages per month at the cost of $5 each, and
- that prizes could not be awarded to residents of the ACT, Victoria and Queensland even though they would be charged for the service.
The ACCC is seeking:
- declarations that TMG engaged in false and misleading and deceptive conduct
- injunctions restraining TMG from engaging in similar conduct in the future
- corrective advertisements on television
- an order that TMG implement a trade practices law compliance program, and
- ACCC costs.
The matter has been listed for a directions hearing on 17 September 2008 in the Federal Court, Sydney.