Telecommunications provider Australian Private Networks, which trades as Activ8me, has been taken to court by the consumer watchdog again.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has started proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that Activ8me breached the Australian Consumer Law when it made the false or misleading claims in three direct mail advertisements and five online banner advertisements marketing its Opticomm fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) packages between June and October this year.
Specifically, the ACCC alleges that the telco made false and misleading representations when it told consumers they could access speeds of up to 100Mbps for $59.95 a month with no set-up fee.
In fact, the $59.95 plan only offered speeds of 12/1Mbps and a set-up fee of $99.95 applied if the consumer did not sign up to a 12-month plan.
"Activ8me also told consumers that they would receive unlimited data when in fact Activ8me could suspend access or charge more for data use it deemed ‘unreasonable’," said ACCC in a statement.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, a corrective notice, consumer redress, a compliance program and costs.
This is the second time this year that ACCC has taken enforcement action against Activ8me.
In March, Activ8me had to pay a $12,600 penalty for similar allegations. In this instance, according to the ACCC, between November 2017 and January 2018, Activ8me claimed on its website that it was named "Australia’s #1 Sky Muster provider by the ACCC”.
The telco has paid the penalty to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on 1 March.
Activ8me is not the first telco to be penalised or taken to court by the ACCC. In March, Vocus Group subsidiaries, Dodo, iPrimus, and M2 Commander had to provide compensation to customers over National Broadband Network (NBN) services speed claims, following an ACCC investigation.
Also in March, the ACCC revealed that TPG subsidiaries, Internode and iiNet, were to compensate customers for not reaching internet speeds as promised in their NBN contracts with the providers.
A total of 11,000 customers – 8,000 iiNet customers and 3,000 Internode customers – were offered the option to choose from moving to a lower tier speed plan with a refund, or exiting their plan without cost and receiving a refund.
Optus Internet was ordered to pay $1.5 million by the Federal Court in May after being found to have misled customers about their transition from its hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network to the NBN.
MyRepublic paid penalties totalling $25,200 following the ACCC issuing two infringement notices for alleged false or misleading representations about its NBN service performance.
Based in Melbourne, Activ8me is a retail services provider (RSP) of broadband internet and phone plans. The telco provides NBN Sky Muster plans and has the largest tally of Sky Muster customers of the 10 Sky Muster RSPs in operation.