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TPG frees misled customers from contracts

TPG will free customers misled by its 2010 advertising campaign from their contracts after submitting an undertaking to the Federal Court.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

TPG has submitted an undertaking to the Federal Court, promising that customers who were misled by its 2010 advertising campaign will be able to walk from their contracts without penalty.

The company was found to have previously misled customers during its advertising campaign in the latter half of 2010. It advertised unlimited ADSL2+ plans for AU$29.99 per month, without clearly specifying that the price was only available when customers purchased home-line rental for an additional AU$30 per month.

The undertaking means that customers who felt that they were misled, but are bound by contract, will now be allowed to leave the contract without facing repercussions.

TPG's undertaking states: "If a customer of TPG's Unlimited ADSL2+ broadband plan notifies TPG that he or she was misled as to the monthly charge payable for the plan and indicates a desire to terminate his or her contract, TPG will permit such customers to terminate the contract without penalty".

Given that the advertising campaign was active between 25 September and 7 October 2010, this provides customers who signed up an early exit of only two or three months if they were on a 24-month contract.

TPG has already paid substantially for the advertising campaign. In June this year, the Federal Court ordered TPG to pay an AU$2 million fine to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), publish corrective notices, maintain a trade practices compliance program for three years and pay the ACCC's court costs. TPG has launched an appeal, which will be heard in November.

It wasn't the only time that TPG was fined by the ACCC for misleading advertising. In April this year, TPG was fined AU$13,200 for its voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services.

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