ACCC granted leave to appeal TPG case to High Court

The High Court of Australia has granted the ACCC leave to appeal its case against TPG for misleading advertising.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has today been granted leave to appeal part of the Full Federal Court's decision on TPG's advertising around its AU$29.99 fixed broadband service by the High Court of Australia.

The ACCC first took the matter to court in December 2010, arguing that the ISP had failed to disclose that its AU$29.99 per month fixed-line broadband plans also included a monthly AU$30 line-rental fee, bringing the total of the plans up to AU$59.99 per month, plus an initial start-up fee.

The ads aired between September and October 2010 on three nationwide TV stations and seven capital city radio stations, in one national and six capital city newspapers, and on the internet.

TPG was originally fined AU$2 million in June last year, after the Federal Court ruled in November 2011 that its ads were misleading.

However, when the Full Bench of the Federal Court reviewed the case on appeal, it overturned much of the previous ruling, finding that only TPG's television ads were misleading.

"We've found that all of the advertisements, other than the original television advertisements, were not misleading," Justice Peter Jacobson said at the time.

The ruling stated that the requirement to bundle the service with line rental and the initial set-up charges were satisfactorily disclosed, and that an ordinary or reasonable consumer would know about their universality.

TPG was ordered to pay penalties totalling AU$50,000, far less than the original AU$2 million, for its misleading TV ads and for failing to prominently advertise the total price of the service.

The ACCC then sought leave to appeal this decision to the High Court, which was today granted.

In April last year, the ACCC handed TPG an AU$13,200 fine for misleadingly advertising its voice-over-IP (VoIP) service.

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