Telecommunications provider, Activ8me, has been slapped with a $12,600 penalty for alleged false and misleading representations that its internet services were endorsed or approved by the Australian consumer watchdog as being superior to those from other providers.
The telco, which is registered as Australian Private Networks, has paid the penalty to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on 1 March.
Based in Melbourne, Activ8me is a retail services provider (RSP) of broadband internet and phone plans. The telco provides National Broadband Network (NBN) Sky Muster plans and has the largest tally of Sky Muster customers of the 10 Sky Muster RSPs in operation.
According to the ACCC, between November 2017 and January 2018, Activ8me claimed in its website that it was named "Australia’s #1 Sky Muster provider by the ACCC”.
On November 2017, the ACCC published its NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report for the 30 September 2017 period. In this report, the ACCC lists a number of satellite services in operation (SIO) per RSP and Activ8me was listed as the one with the highest number of satellite services in operation with more than 27,000 SIO. The telco was followed by SkyMesh with 18,585 SIO, TPG with 10,200, Harbour ISP with 7,639 and IPStar Australia with 6,000.
Activ8me had also claimed on its Facebook page that the "ACCC have released their quarterly NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report today, once again naming Activ8me the #1 provider of nbn Sky Muster satellite services in Australia”.
The consumer watchdog has argued that its report listed Activ8me as having the highest number of satellite services in operation but it "did not endorse or approve Activ8me over other providers".
The ACCC warned the telco about the issue and "misuse of its report findings" and also its logo, which was in close proximity to both statements. Activ8me has removed the statements since it's been warned.
“The ACCC does not endorse or approve particular businesses and it is imperative that consumers trust our name and logo when it is used,” ACCC Commissioner, Sarah Court, said.
"This penalty serves as a warning to companies that we will act swiftly if they misrepresent the ACCC.”
Activ8me had not responded to ARN's queries at the time of writing.