The ACCC has instituted proceedings against internet provider Australian Private Networks Pty Ltd (trading as Activ8me) in the Federal Court for allegedly making false or misleading representations when advertising its internet services.
The ACCC alleges that, between June and October this year, Activ8me breached the Australian Consumer Law when it made the false or misleading claims in three direct mail advertisements and five online banner advertisements marketing its Opticomm fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) packages.
“Activ8me sent thousands of advertisements with allegedly false or misleading claims about the speed, data limits and costs of its internet services,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
The ACCC alleges that Activ8me made false and misleading representations when it told consumers they could access speeds of up to 100Mbps for $59.95 a month with no setup fee. In fact, the $59.95 plan only offered speeds of 12/1Mbps and a set-up fee of $99.95 applied if the consumer did not sign up to a 12-month plan.
Activ8me also told consumers that they would receive unlimited data when in fact Activ8me could suspend access or charge more for data use it deemed ‘unreasonable’.
“This is the second time this year that the ACCC has taken enforcement action against Activ8me for engaging in conduct that we allege is misleading, after we issued an Infringement Notice for false or misleading claims in March” Ms Rickard said.
“Our decision to take court proceedings this time shows how seriously the ACCC takes Activ8me’s further conduct.”
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, a corrective notice, consumer redress, a compliance program and costs.
The ACCC has taken action against a range of telecommunications companies in relation to internet services, including misleading broadband speed claims by Telstra, Optus, TPG, Dodo, iPrimus and Commander, MyRepublic and iiNet and Internode. The ACCC has also taken action against Optus in relation to the transition to the NBN.
On 1 March 2018 Activ8me paid a penalty after the ACCC issued an infringement notice for alleged false or misleading representations that its internet services were endorsed by the ACCC.
Activ8me’s direct mail advertisements, sent to over 60,000 recipients, were targeted at consumers in areas connected to the Opticomm fibre network. Opticomm Co Pty Ltd (Opticomm) is a builder and wholesaler of FTTP network infrastructure to new estates and developments. Opticomm is not a party to these proceedings.
The ACCC’s guidance for retail service providers on how to advertise speeds for fixed-line broadband services, including clearly identifying typical peak speeds can be found here- Broadband speed claims: Industry guidance
“100 mbps” refer to 100 megabits per second in download speed. “12/1mbps” refers to 12 megabits per second in download speed and 1 megabit per second in upload speed.