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Telco BVivid pays $25K penalties for cold-calling practices

Telecommunications provider will offer to release all affected customers from their contracts without charge

SME telecommunications provider BVivid has paid $25,200 in penalties following two infringement notices from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Privately-owned, BVivid offers telephone, broadband and NBN services.

The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from the telco for making telemarketing calls to consumers in areas transitioning to the NBN that BVivid admitted likely breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

According to the ACCC, from October 2017 to May 2018, BVivid cold called consumers and told them their internet services would be disconnected or they would lose their telephone number if they did not move to the NBN immediately.

"BVivid’s calls likely misled consumers and gave them a false sense of urgency and need," ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

"Consumers generally have 18 months from when the NBN becomes available in their area to switch before being at risk of disconnection."

BVivid also admitted that it likely breached the unsolicited consumer agreement protections in the ACL when it supplied services within the 10 business day cooling-off period and failed to give consumers an official form they could use to terminate the contract.

According to the undertaking, BVivid employed staff in India to promote its services by unsolicited telephone marketing to prospective Australian consumers, through a wholly owned subsidiary in India.

"We are of the view that BVivid did not meet all their obligations to consumers who were subjected to their unsolicited marketing practices," Court said.

BVivid will contact all affected consumers and offer to release them from their contracts without charge and refund any termination fees already paid, as part of the undertaking.

"Consumers who find themselves signed up to a contract as a result of unsolicited marketing can cancel their contract without penalty within 10 business days of signing without needing to provide a reason," Court added.

BVivid also commited to an independent review of all its policies, practices and procedures relating to its sales and transfer methodology to ensure compliance with the ACL and a commitment to implement any recommendations from that independent review.

It will also introduce a compliance program which includes annual training on the ACL, implementing a complaint handling system for ACL complaints and procedures for recording and storing all telemarketing calls that conclude in any agreement with consumers.