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iiNet cops AU$102K fine for very fine fine print

iiNet has been handed an AU$102,000 fine for a bus ad for naked DSL services with too small fine print.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Australia's third-largest internet service provider (ISP), iiNet, has paid an AU$102,000 fine to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for a bus ad for naked DSL that didn't prominently display the total minimum cost for the service.

Image: ACCC

The ad, which was on the rear of buses in metropolitan Sydney between February and March this year, was for iiNet's naked DSL service starting out at AU$59.95 per month. Although the ad also displayed a total minimum price, the ACCC decided that this was not displayed prominently enough.

The total minimum cost for the service over 24 months, including the AU$79.95 connection fee, was AU$1,518.75.

iiNet's chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby said that iiNet was committed to meeting its obligations under consumer law, but the law was not specific enough in this instance.

"When advised by the regulator that our interpretation of 'prominence' was not adequate, we immediately took steps to rectify the advertisement in question," he said in a statement.

"Although there are no specific guidelines in the law outlining what is adequate prominence, we have a comprehensive compliance program in place to help us meet this continuing challenge"

ACCC chair Rod Sims said that protecting consumers in the telecommunications sector has become a priority for the commission.

"Businesses need to take into account the context in which their advertisements appear. If the total minimum price is not prominent or cannot be easily seen, businesses run the risk of being in breach of the Australian Consumer Law," he said in a statement.

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