The Telstra online advertising subsidiary has demanded a
response to its request to stop using the terms without proper
clarification by 20 August, and in its letter to OZtion said it would "take appropriate action if OZtion continues to make misleading
representations about prices associated with its online auction
The letter by Sensis (available in PDF form here) claimed possible breaches of sections 52
and 53 of the Trade Practices Act which pertain to misleading
advertising. OZtion sent ZDNet.com.au the letter this afternoon.
A spokesperson for Sensis confirmed the letter was legitimate and said the demand came
off the back of the ACCC's current focus on the use of the word
"free" in promotional materials.
"Sensis is concerned by business' use of the word 'free'
without any qualification in their advertising materials, as it has
the potential to mislead customers about the true costs associated
with a product or service," the spokesperson said in a
"Sensis believes it is in our customers' best interests and
the online auction industry's as a whole, for businesses to fully
disclose terms and conditions associated with their advertising
However, OZtion founder Phil Druce disagreed that it had done
anything wrong, and has claimed Sensis' own website promotes
exactly the same misleading details.
"The terms OZtion uses, 'Free to list items' and 'You can
list items for sale on OZtion for FREE', are fact," Druce said in
"A quick review of a Sensis online auction site, The Trading
Post, sees virtually the same terminology, and certainly the same
meaning, used in a similar way when promoting their own services,"
Sensis admitted that the Trading Post had neglected to
adequately clarify the parameters of their use of "free to list"
on at least one of its Web pages.
"[This] will be remedied immediately," said the
Sensis found itself in hot water with
the ACCC over the same issues in April, following several
alleged breaches by the Trading Post of the same sections of the
Trade Practices Act levelled against OZtion on Tuesday.