Company or individual details
- Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Limited096304620
Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Limited ACN 096 304 620 (Vodafone) has offered and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (pursuant to a delegation from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)) has accepted a court enforceable undertaking in relation to its third party billing service known as “Direct Carrier Billing” (DCB).
Vodafone admitted it made false or misleading representations and likely breached section 12DB(1)(b) of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 2001 (Cth) (ASIC Act) from at least February 2015 when it charged customers through its DCB service for digital content that they unknowingly purchased.
The DCB service was automatically enabled on customers’ accounts and allowed purchases or subscriptions for digital content such as games, ringtones and other digital content to be charged to a Vodafone customer’s mobile account after one or two clicks on a web browser, without any identity verification.
Vodafone ceased offering DCB services during the ACCC’s investigation, with the exception of a limited number of DCB content offerings that require express customer agreement and which had not been the subject of complaints.
To address the ACCC’s concerns, Vodafone has provided a section 93AA undertaking that it will:
- Refund consumers who had previously complained to Vodafone and to the TIO and have not been fully refunded;
- Contact customers charged for the most problematic third party content providers (Gamifive, Browser Games, Jamster, Play Planet, iGirls, Waala Mobile and iFortune) and refund customers who apply for a refund where they had unintentionally purchased that content without their knowledge or consent; and
- Deal directly with future complaints in good faith.
Vodafone is also required to report to the ACCC on the results of its refunds commitments for a period of 12 months.
ASIC Act delegation
This undertaking was made and accepted pursuant to section 93AA of the ASIC Act. The ASIC Act prohibits misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to financial products and services, such as Vodafone’s DCB service. ASIC has delegated to the ACCC powers and functions under the ASIC Act in relation to financial products and services provided in connection with telecommunications services. The ACCC delegate has accepted Vodafone’s undertaking in accordance with this delegation.