We told you back in September that the ACCC was taking Optus to court over whether its shaping policies for broadband plans were adequately disclosed in advertising. Yesterday, the Federal Court found against Optus, and the ACCC says it will continue to pursue companies that don't make their broadband policies transparent.
The essence of the ACCC's objection was that while Optus advertised a split peak/off-peak service — something which is common on all kinds of broadband plans — it failed to adequately disclose that the service would be shaped to 64Kbps once the peak limit was reached, essentially rendering the off-peak component unusable. ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel summed up the issue:
Consumers were told in these ads that they were going to get a certain amount of broadband, and only after you work through confusing and vague disclaimers that you realise that it's just not the case. Consumers and the ACCC are, frankly, tired of telcos using complex, confusing and deceptive advertising to fool consumers. This should serve as yet another reminder, that if these companies don't clean up their act, the ACCC will be here to take you to task, and you can expect to be hit with the full force of the law.