The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Dodo Services Pty Ltd (Dodo) after Dodo admitted its conduct was likely to be false or misleading and in breach of Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Between 2015 and 2018, Dodo advertised its NBN plans as “perfect for streaming”, including plans providing only 10 gigabytes of included data. The advertised statement of “perfect for streaming” was found to be an inaccurate representation of Dodo’s capacity to provide internet to customers on the 10 gigabyte plan.
The ACCC highlighted issues with the amount of data offered, the speed and video quality offered by plans which did not meet the “perfect for streaming” standard relied upon by consumers. Customers who purchased plans containing 10 gigabytes of data from Dodo were required to pay fees for exceeding their data even though they were simply using the service as advertised. Dodo’s advertised service and the subsequent service delivered were a false performance claim and misleading to consumers.
Following Dodo’s admission, the telco agreed to refund up to AU$360,000 to 16,000 affected customers. In addition, affected customers can also exit their contract at no extra cost. The arrival of the ACCC’s 2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy indicates that the ACCC will continue to have a strong consumer law focus in 2019. False and misleading advertising by telcos will continue to be investigated by ACCC as customers rely on how internet service providers describe their service when picking the best broadband or mobile plan for themselves. As data quality, quantity and performance has become increasingly important for consumers, network operators have had to respond with the growing demand for connectivity. Companies must ensure that any claims they make about the quality and standard of products or services are accurate. The ACCC will act against exaggerated advertising claims which fail to comply with the ACL.
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