ACCC, Optus back in court over cable ads

Industry watchdog alleges telco misled consumers on speeds

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced legal proceedings against Optus for misleading advertising and alleged breaches of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The advertising slogans - “think bigger” and “supersonic” - relate to recent DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades to Optus’ hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network which see cable subscribers given access to speeds of up 100 megabits per second (Mbps). The telco advertises the network as four times faster than “standard broadband”, but ACCC alleges Optus falsely represented its claims through the slogan.

Its main complaint centres around the telco not adequately making users aware that their speed will be shaped to 64 kilobits per second (Kbps) once they reach their monthly peak data allowance.

“ACCC alleges that Optus did not sufficiently or clearly disclose, and in some cases did not disclose at all, these qualifications,” a statement from the consumer watchdog reads.

“ACCC is seeking court orders, including declarations that Optus breached the Act, injunctions, including interlocutory injunctions, civil penalties, corrective advertising and costs.”

The two parties will face Justice Perram in the Federal Court of Australia’s Sydney courts on 16 September.

An Optus spokesperson told Computerworld Australia said the company acknowledges the claims and would look to settle any qualms with the ACCC.

"Optus goes to great lengths to offer the best products and services to our customers and to explain the value of those offers clearly," they said in an email.

The latest case is the second such between the telco and watchdog in recent times, with the ACCC taking Optus to court in June over alleged misleading use of the word “unlimited” on mobile, landline and internet plans.

The two faced off in first directions last month, but the matter over unlimited advertising is yet to be resolved.

Tags acccoptus

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