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ACCC seeks TPG High Court appeal

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that it will appeal a court decision that found that most of TPG's broadband ads were not misleading.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will seek leave to appeal a ruling by the Full Bench of the Federal Court that only the TV ads associated with a 2010 campaign for AU$29.99 fixed broadband plans were misleading.

The ACCC took TPG to court over ads for its AU$29.99 fixed-line broadband plan at the end of 2010, claiming that the ads failed to disclose the full cost of the plan, which included a AU$30 line-rental charge.

The first set of ads, which aired between September and October 2010, was broadcast on three national TV stations and seven capital city radio stations, and was published in one national and six capital city newspapers, as well as on the internet.

After a complaint from the ACCC, TPG changed the ads, and then extended the advertising to another TV station, more newspapers, magazines, websites, cinemas, billboards, trains, buses, trams, stations, airports, and on noticeboards in public restrooms.

In November 2011, Justice Bernard Murphy ruled against the telecommunications company, finding that although TPG advertised the unlimited plan for AU$29.99, it did not adequately disclose that the cost was AU$59.99 per month including line rental. Accordingly, in June 2012, he handed the company an AU$2 million fine.

TPG appealed the ruling, and in December the Full Bench of the Federal Court found that only the original TV ads were misleading.

The court found that the other ads disclosed the bundling requirement and the set-up charges adequately, and that the ordinary consumer would have known that these charges applied to bundles.

Today, the ACCC said in a short statement that it would seek leave to appeal the case before the High Court of Australia.

TPG has been contacted for comment, but had not responded at the time of writing.

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