Internet service provider Dodo has copped $26,400 in fines from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over advertisements for its ADSL2+ Unlimited broadband plan, which the regulator deemed misleading to consumers.
The ACCC issued four infringement notices worth $6600 each to the telco for TV, radio, website and billboard advertisements that ran between August and October 2010 for Dodo's $39.90 Unlimited ADSL2+ broadband plan. The ACCC said that consumers would also have to pay for a home telephone plan at a cost of $29.90 per month, putting the total monthly cost for the plan at $69.80.
The advertising on the Dodo website now reflects the $69.80 cost for the plan.
The fines for Dodo come as the ACCC has chased after a number of telcos for plan advertising. The commission late last month launched proceedings in the Federal Court against TPG over its unlimited ADSL2+ broadband plan advertising, claiming that, on similar grounds as the Dodo case, the advertised price failed to include the additional sign-on costs for the service. The ACCC was unsuccessful in the initial stages, failing to have the advertising suspended before the case could be heard.
Acting ACCC chairman Dr Michael Schaper said telcos risked breaching the Trade Practices Act if they only selectively quote monthly price components in their advertising.
"Consumers often compare the monthly price of internet and telecommunication services when considering the best deal. To prominently advertise the price of only one component and bury the total bundled price in the fine print is misleading," he said in a statement.
"In such circumstances consumers might be misled into thinking the cost of the services are cheaper than they actually are."
Late last year the ACCC won a federal court case against Optus over the advertising for its Think Bigger and Supersonic broadband advertising campaigns.
Optus also recently took fellow telco Vodafone to court, claiming advertising for its "Infinite" mobile phone plans were misleading. The court refused to suspend the advertising; however, Vodafone has committed to making changes to the print ads.