The ACCC has ordered Reckon to offer free software upgrades and refunds to more than 1750 of its customers after finding the Quicken software company guilty of misleading or deceptive conduct.
According to the ACCC, Reckon's misconduct was due to its packaging of Quicken Personal Version 7, containing a share portfolio download service and advertised as a "one-button update of your portfolio via the Internet".
What the packaging didn't say was that users would not have access to the Share Portfolio download service after April 1, 2000, which meant users had to either upgrade to Version 8 ($109.95) or pay a subscription fee ($49.95) for further access to the Share Portfolio download service.
After receiving numerous complaints from disgruntled Version 7 consumers, the ACCC found the company guilty of misconduct because the advertising implied indefinite access to the Share Portfolio download service.
According to ACCC chairman Rod Shogren, after negotiations with Reckon the ACCC has ordered the vendor to offer free software upgrades to 1750 customers and refunds to another 119 customers.
"Businesses that advertise specific benefits without making it clear that those benefits are limited may breach the Trade Practices Act. All software developers must be aware of the effect of their advertising," Shogren said.
"Software companies must ensure that consumers are fully aware of any limitations and conditions attached to advertised product features at the time of purchase."
Officials at Reckon were unavailable for comment.