Free ad costs Fairfax a rap over the knuckles by ACCC

ACCC finds Domain.com.au ad mislead customers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has rapped Fairfax Digital over the knuckles for misleading customers over the use of the term 'free' in conjunction with a mobile phone property listing on its Domain real estate site.

Banner advertisements promoting the new mobile phone service were published across Fairfax Digital Web sites during February and March this year. The service enables consumers to view and search property listings on Domain.com.au from their mobile phones.

An additional service allowed consumers to receive SMS alerts of properties listed on Domain.com.au. The banner advertisements stated: 'Domain Goes mobile! Find your next home on your phone for free.' and 'Find your next home on your phone for free.'

The ACCC took issue with Fairfax's banner claim that the Domain mobile phone services were free to consumers, when in reality users would incur charges from their telecommunications provider.

"The ACCC was also concerned about the banner advertisement claims that the Domain mobile alert service was free in circumstances where users of the service would be charged 55 cents for each SMS alert. The charge for the SMS alert was only later disclosed to consumers who visited Domain.com.au to avail of the service," said a statement on the ACCC site.

As a result of its actions, Fairfax is required to stop publishing ads that represents Domain's mobile phone service as being for free, when in fact users will incur a telco charge; post a correction on the Domain homepage; and update its trade practices law compliance program to ensure it will continue to meet its obligations under the Trade Practices Act 1974.

"The use of the word 'free' in advertising and promotional material is a powerful marketing tool for attracting consumers," said ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel. "As such, consumers should be entitled to presume that when a service is advertised as 'free', they will not incur an unexpected fee or charge from the business itself or from a third party."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Howard Dahdah

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?