One of the many forms of iffy commercial behaviour the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) frowns on is not making the conditions of a contract, and the potential overall cost, crystal-clear. That appears to have been the case with pay TV provider Austar, which has agreed to smarten up its act after some questionable practices were unearthed by the regulator.
The ACCC has accepted a court-enforcable undertaking from Austar after discovering that in many northern Australian indigenous communities Austar had quoted a basic contract price, added in limited trial access to extra channel packages such as sport, and failed to explain that unless the additional channels were explicitly cancelled by the customer, they would be charged for in subsequent months.
That meant the minimum contract cost would be much higher than the initial claim. Austar has now agreed that when it quotes a minimum cost, it will always assume that subscribers won't cancel those channels after the introductory period. As ever, we'd advise people not to sign up on the spot for any long-term contract; take time to consider your options, and make sure you clearly understand all the costs involved.