The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been taking a hard line on misleading broadband advertising for a while now, but this is its biggest penalty yet: Optus has been fined $5.26 million for misleading advertising of two of its broadband plans.
That sum is the largest civil penalty the ACCC has ever seen imposed for consumer protection. Optus’ mistake this time around? Not making it clear that if you exceeded either your peak or off-peak allowance, your entire connection would be shaped.
The good news for consumers? That fine should serve as a deterrent from other advertisers trying misleading tactics, a point which ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel was quick to emphasise:
The entire telecommunications industry needs to sit up and take notice. This conduct is not acceptable, and the ACCC will seek the harshest penalties the law allows.
Reading the fine print always makes sense, but it’s good to know that blatantly deceptive practices will get punished. Optus has previously been held to account for misleading cap plans and misuse of the word “unlimited”.