Optus has defended itself in the wake of legal proceedings brought against it by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), saying it had a "different view" to the commission regarding the use of the word "unlimited" in its advertising.
The commission yesterday labelled some of Optus' advertising "misleading or deceptive", as the telco allegedly failed to inform consumers of the numerous limitations and restrictions attached to its recently advertised $70 prepaid "Turbo Max" plan.
The ACCC believed Optus' misuse of the word "unlimited" contravened Section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974. Section 52 of the Act states; "A corporation shall not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive."
The proceedings also relate to other advertisements, including those for Optus' "unlimited" broadband plans, which offered incentives for customers who chose to bundle home phone, internet and mobile services together.
"We believe our advertising is clear, it is not misleading, it complies with all laws and our customers understand it," Optus said.
"The Optus team goes to great lengths to explain the great value customers get with each offer. The information is prominent in our advertising and highlights the features to our customers."
The ACCC is seeking an acknowledgement by Optus of its deceptive actions, as well as injunctions and costs.
The court action comes as the telco released what it said were "unlimited" broadband plans in April. The telco said it would offer two "unlimited" broadband plans, which do technically allow unlimited downloads, but were to be shaped down to 256Kbps speeds after 100GB or 200GB of data is downloaded, for $109.99 or $139.99 per month respectively.
One internet service provider (ISP), AAPT, even went as far as sending a dictionary to one journalist noting the definition of the word "unlimited".
"Just a reminder that we're still the only telco offering a truly unlimited 24/7 super-fast broadband product: no throttling, no shaping, no excess charges," wrote AAPT to Delimiter editor Renai LeMay.
The proceedings have been filed in the Federal Court's fast track list and listed for a scheduling conference before Justice Middleton in Melbourne on 25 June 2010 at 9:30am.