ACCC takes VIPtel to court

ACCC takes VIPtel to court

ACCC alleges VIPtel made misleading representations to customers and used a high-pressure relentless sales process

Telecommunications provider, VIPtel, will face Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) allegations of misleading and unconscionable conduct in the Federal Court.

VIPtel, which trades as EDirect, allegedly made misleading representations to customers that a friend or family member 'loved the calling plan' they had been offered by VIPtel and the bonus goods they had received; the customer had pre-approved credit for a mobile phone plan and could therefore afford the offer, the ACCC said.

The watchdog also alleged EDirect engaged in unconscionable conduct in its sales method and in its dealings with specific customers by using a high pressure; relentless sales process demonstrated by misleading representations; conveying information about numerous contractual terms in a manner which made it difficult for customers to understand; requiring customers to only answer yes or no to questions designed to obtain their consent to enter into the contract; along with composing statements and questions in a manner designed to obtain a positive affirmation from the customer.

The ACCC is seeking declarations and injunctions to stop any contravening conduct and improve EDirect's business practices, and court costs.

EDirect has advised it will provide undertakings to the court, in lieu of the ACCC pursuing interim interlocutory orders.

They are: That EDirect will not make the representations referred to above that the ACCC alleges are misleading, and that it will ensure its telemarketers certify in a record maintained by EDirect, that, to the best of the telemarketer's belief: the terms of the proposed agreement were clearly and accurately explained to the call recipient, and that he or she had no reason to believe from his or her discussions with the call recipient that the call recipient did not wish to enter into the agreement, fully comprehend the terms of the agreement or fully comprehend the consequences of entering into the agreement.

The first directions hearing will be before Justice Reeves in the Federal Court in Darwin on September 17.

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Tags federal courtAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)VIPtelEDirectallegations


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