The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has fined Telstra over an iPhone 6 advertisement that failed to prominently display the full monthly cost of the device.
The ad, run in Victorian newspaper The Age on September 27, 2014, had the iPhone 6 plan cost listed at AU$70 per month, and only mentioned the additional handset repayment cost of AU$11 per month in the fine print of the advertisement.
The ACCC said on Tuesday that the ad misrepresented the price of the phone, and fined Telstra on the grounds that the ad was false or misleading under Australian Consumer Law.
"Consumers should be able to understand the true cost of an advertised product so they can make informed purchasing decisions," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Telstra said the company was surprised to be fined for the ad.
"We were surprised to receive the infringement notice, as our ads prominently stated the mobile plan cost, the handset cost, and the total minimum cost as legally required, and were in line with the way many others in the industry advertise mobile plans with handsets. The ad in question was displayed in a full newspaper page so all the text was much larger," the spokesperson said.
"Even though we are strongly of the view our ads complied with the law, we have paid the notice. In addition, we've made some changes to our advertising to make it even clearer to customers what they will pay each month for a plan and handset. We now consider this matter closed."
The spokesperson said that issues over advertising could be resolved in the future "through constructive engagement between the industry and the regulator" rather than through formal procedures, such as the issuing of fines.
The ad may also constitute a breach of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) Code, which Telstra has signed. Under the code, advertising must prominently display the full minimum quantifiable price.