John Linton, chief executive of internet service provider (ISP) Exetel, has challenged Telstra in court after it allegedly incorrectly listed the ISP as a "bad debtor".
According to Exetel's statement of claim, it wanted Telstra to atone for alleged misleading conduct by placing an advertisement in NewsCorp paper The Australian, which must include its logo and the wording as per the mock up presented below:
Dear John, we're sorry for listing you (Credit: Ben Grubb, Liam Tung/ZDNet.com.au)
The ISP lodged its statement of claim with the Federal Court on 2 March, over an alleged breach by Telstra under Section 52 of the Trade Practices Act, which deals with misleading and deceptive conduct.
Telstra had listed Exetel with credit reference company, Veda Advantage, over several bills it said Exetel had defaulted on — bills which Exetel claims are not legally its responsibility.
The disputed bills were the trigger for three listings Telstra made in 2008 with Veda — a service used by creditors to verify whether a credit applicant has any recorded defaults.
Exetel is not a customer of Telstra Wholesale; however, it is a wholesale customer of Optus, which itself is a customer of Telstra Wholesale.
In Exetel's claim it argues that the bills were not its own, therefore the listing on Veda's credit check register was false and the information Telstra supplied to Veda was misleading. The deception claim appears to be based on the fact that the information deceived Exetel's potential creditors.
The ISP has given Telstra 14 days to respond to its claim. Exetel has prescribed that the advertisement it wants run in The Australian should be at a specific size and feature Telstra's logo (also at a specified size).