When "unlimited" isn't: Mobile phone service provider undertakes to stop misleading advertising

11 February 2009

TPG Internet Pty Ltd has given a court-enforceable undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after conceding that advertising for its Unlimited Cap Saver mobile phone plan may have contravened the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Between September and December 2008, TPG Internet Pty Ltd published advertisements for its Unlimited Cap Saver plan on television, in newspapers and on billboards on buses, trams, major roads and train stations across Australia.

"The Trade Practices Act demands that advertising be honest and accurate and not mislead consumers as to the true nature of the offer," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today.

"Companies advertising mobile phone plans should be particularly cautious when using absolute terms such as 'unlimited' for plans to which some limits do apply.  To avoid misleading consumers, any qualifications of an offer of 'unlimited' calls or text must be prominently stated and not so significant that they negate the headline message."

The ACCC contends that TPG made false representations and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in contravention of sections 52 and 53 of the Act by representing in its advertisements that the Unlimited Cap Saver plan:

  • includes unlimited calls and text for $59.99 per month when, in fact, there are multiple exclusions to the plan (including calls to 1800, 13 and 1300 numbers, directory assistance, international calls and SMS, calls to MobileSAT, premium SMS, and calls to operator assistance), and
  • is available for the purchase price of only $59.99 per month when, in fact, the minimum charge for the Unlimited Cap Saver Plan is $79.99 due to an additional $20 SIM card fee payable on registration.

To address the ACCC's concerns about TPG's advertisements, TPG has undertaken that it will:

  • not, for a period of three years, publish an advertisement for a mobile telephone plan which states that for a specified price there will be unlimited calls and text when certain calls and text are excluded or additional charges will apply for some calls and text without including an appropriately prominent disclaimer to the effect that exceptions, terms and conditions apply
  • publish a corrective notice on its website
  • implement a trade practices law compliance program which requires all relevant staff and management to take part in training.

Media inquiries: Ms Lin Enright (02) 6243 1108 or 0414 612 520
General inquiries: Infocentre  1300 302 502

Release number: 
NR 024/09
ACCC Infocentre: 

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