amaysim and Lycamobile have paid penalties of $126,000 and $12,600 after the ACCC issued each of these mobile services providers with an infringement notice for alleged false or misleading representations about their mobile phone plans. It was purely bait to catch more customers.
If you bothered to read the fine print
- amaysim’s advertised plans only provided an unlimited data allowance for the first three renewals. Then would revert to a capped amount, with charges imposed if the data used by customers exceeded the capped amount.
- Lycamobile referred to ‘Unlimited Plan S’, and ‘Unlimited Plan M’ plans would provide an unlimited data allowance. Each of Lycamobile’s ‘unlimited’ plans had a capped data allowance. Customers who exceeded that allowance were subject to additional charges.
The ACCC alleges that the messages in these advertisements breached Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and were likely to mislead consumers.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims said
“Consumers who saw the word ‘unlimited’ in the advertisements without any explanation of the limits of the plans were likely to expect they would not be charged additional fees for mobile data. No matter how much data they used.”
“The telco industry has been previously put on notice that their advertisements must be clear and transparent. They must not contain claims like ‘unlimited’ without clear and prominent disclosure of any offer qualifications or exceptions. We will continue to monitor mobile plan advertisements and won’t hesitate to enforce the law.”
“The data included in a mobile phone plan is an important factor for many consumers in choosing a plan. It is important that consumers can readily understand what they are signing up to”.
Not the first time for amaysim
Amaysim is a public company, but its moral compass seems to have wandered off course. It has been a focus of the ACCC since its inception. Things like grey market phones, energy rip-offs, third-line forcing and advertising claims.
amaysim also provides energy plans. In March 2019, the Federal Court ordered Amaysim Energy (trading as Click Energy) to pay $900,000 in penalties for making false or misleading marketing claims about potential discounts and savings on its energy plans. amaysim has since ceased offering energy plans.
Lycamobile Pty Ltd is a British MVNO which operates in 23 countries. It commenced trading in Australia in 2010, provides sim-only plans and operates on the Telstra network.
The ACCC was also instrumental in stopping Telstra, Optus and Vodafone in using the term ‘unlimited’ to promote mobile data plans, where allowances were subject to limitations.
You can read more ACCC news here