Court declares National Telecoms Group misled customers after ACCC action

19 December 2003

The Federal Court today declared that National Telecoms Group engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct when offering its Synergy telephony package.  The court also declared that NTG made false and misleading representations with respect to the price of its telephony services.

The declarations follow Australian Competition and Consumer Commission initiated court action.

'The ACCC received a number of complaints in relation to the misleading offerings made by NTG', ACCC chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today.  'This action aims to deter other telecommunications providers from making false representations'.

The ACCC had alleged that, amongst other things, NTG represented to consumers that in accepting the Synergy telephony package they would:

  • pay no more or pay less than they were currently paying for telephony services
  • pay only a specified additional amount more than they were currently paying to their existing telephony services providers
  • be provided with a free telephone system and
  • receive only one bill for their telephony services.

Investigations made by the ACCC into NTG's conduct indicated that these representations were false.

By consent of both parties, Justice Weinberg declared that NTG had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations in breach of sections 52 and 53(e) of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The court granted injunctions restraining NTG from making the same or similar representations to consumers in the future.  In addition, NTG has provided court-enforceable undertakings to the ACCC.  NTG has undertaken to:

  • contact customers who have complained in order to resolve their complaints and
  • review its trade practices compliance program.

'False representations in the telecommunications industry are of particular concern to the ACCC because of the significant impact they can have on consumers.  The ACCC will take swift enforcement action against telephony businesses and industry more broadly, which mislead or deceive customers when selling their products and services'.

Release number: 
MR 282/03
ACCC Infocentre: 

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