ACCC Gets Tough On Dodgy SMS Services

txtmessageIf you’ve ever thought those tiny disclaimers on “premium” SMS services were irresponsible and deceptive, you’re not alone — the ACCC is now hunting down advertisers who promote such services without making it clear what sort of fiscal hole the purchaser is digging for themselves.

Back in May the ACCC announced new regulations for premium SMS providers, but it is already cracking down on the advertising of such services. Last week it announced two prosecutions relating to inadequate disclosure of terms as acting chairman Peter Kell explained:

The busy layout of the advertisements appearing in youth magazines, combined with the inadequate and inappropriate use of fine print disclaimers, is misleading and in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 Of particular concern was that the advertising did not adequately disclose the nature of the services being offered and their costs. Consumers would unknowingly be subscribing to an ongoing and costly service rather than acquiring a one-off purchase of a particular ring-tone, wallpaper or game. Preying on unsuspecting consumers, especially youth, is simply unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

If you’re trying to track a mysterious SMS charge on your bill, check out 19 SMS. Picture from Wikimedia Commons

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