Aussie watchdog slaps wrists of Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp

What happens when you advertise WiFi ready devices that actually aren't? Consumer watchdogs will descend.

Technology giants Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp have been given slapped wrists by an antitrust watchdog in the lands down under.

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According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the competition regulator's fury has resulted in a marketing closure for specific televisions and Blu-ray players.

The term "WiFi Ready" was used to promote certain products by all the aforementioned companies -- but many cannot actually connect to WiFi networks without the use of a dongle.

Concerns were raised with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), when the potentially confusing material prompted consumer wrath at the discovery of a required additional purchase to get online through their television set.

The difference? Some "smart" televisions and Blu-ray players can connect to wireless networks, but those that need additional components -- such as an adapter or dongle -- were marketed as "Wi-Fi Ready" and "Wireless LAN ready". Buy one of these sets, and the average customer is set back an additional $100-120 (approximately $100 USD).

The five top television vendors will now have to amend their promotional and marketing material after the ACCC investigated and sided with customers. If Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, or Sharp want to continue using those phrases, they are now required to clearly state that a dongle is required to get online.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims told the publication:

"Consumers should be able to trust that what's represented on promotional material is what they will actually get. "This is particularly the case when the terms 'WiFi Ready' or 'Wireless LAN Ready' appeared to be used on audiovisual products offering in-built WiFi adaptors as well as on products which required an additional device or dongle."

It is not currently known when the firms' current material will be changed in line with the regulator's decision.