iiNet hit with $204,000 ACCC fine

Pinged for iffy pricing on its naked broadband plan advertisements

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims.

The nation’s largest independent ISP, iiNet, has been forced to pay $204,000 to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for its advertising of its naked broadband plans.

The fine follows the issue of two infringement notices relating to recent advertisements for iiNet’s naked broadband 250GB plan.

The consumer watchdog said it issued the fines because it had reason to believe that the ads breached Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by failing to prominently state the total minimum price of the service.

The ads appeared on a tram and billboard in metropolitan Melbourne in November 2014. The campaign displayed a monthly price of $69.95 for iiNet’s naked 250GB plan. The total minimum price was included in the advertisement but the ACCC considered that it was not displayed in a prominent way, as required by law.

ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, said that consumers must be able to understand the real cost of an advertised product to make informed decisions when purchasing.

“Businesses must ensure that when they advertise part of the price of a good or service, the total minimum price is also prominently displayed.”

“Prominence means that the total minimum price can be easily seen and strikes the attention of the consumer. In assessing whether the total minimum price is prominent, it is important to consider the context in which the advertisement appears - for example if the advertisement is on a moving vehicle, where consumers may only be able to see the advertisement momentarily," he said.

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