ACCC challenges Optus broadband promotions

Optus and the ACCC will attend a hearing in court on 16 September

SingTel Optus has been called to the principal's office by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission again after alleged breaches of the Trade Practices Act for misinformation in its 'Think Bigger' and 'Supersonic' broadband plan promotional campaigns.

"The ACCC alleges that Optus engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false representations in relation to the advertising of certain broadband plans as part of its 'Think Bigger' and 'Supersonic' promotional campaigns," the ACCC said in a statement today.

Optus responded to the legal proceedings this afternoon in its own statement. "Optus acknowledges the claims made by the ACCC and looks forward to working with the ACCC to resolve any concerns they may have," said an Optus spokesperson. "Optus goes to great lengths to offer the best products and services to our customers and to explain the value of those offers clearly.

The regulator is concerned with Optus' failure to "sufficiently or clearly disclose" that consumers who sign up with either of the plans, will be shaped to 64kbps if their monthly data allowance is exceeded. And in some cases, the regulator said, it did not disclose this fact at all.

Optus and the ACCC will attend a hearing in court on 16 September. The case had been filed with the "Federal Court's Fast Track" list, a which is reserved for matters such as intellectual property and general commercial matters. The hearing will take place before Justice Perram.

The matter represents the second time in the last four months that Optus has found itself in hot water with the regulator after the ACCC went after Optus in early June. The commission was unhappy with the use of "unlimited" in broadband and telephone advertisement campaigns, and had stated the term was "misleading because the offers are subject to a number of limitations and restrictions".

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