Barely a week after the ACCC victory over Dodo making misleading NBN claims comes news that Dodo cops a fine over misleading energy claims.
It is becoming a little repetitive, “Dodo cops a fine”.
Dodo (M2 Energy/Vocus) copped a $37,800 fine, and TPG owned CovaU, a $12,600 fine for misleading claims about discounts available on their energy plans. They must also refund customers.
Dodo is part of the Vocus group that also trades as Vocus Communications, Commander, Engin, Nextgen and iPrimus in Australia and Slingshot, Flip, Switch and Orcon in New Zealand. All share Vocus back end, licences, infrastructure, services, billing and significantly management and a board of directors.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims said,
“As a result of using higher market offer rates to calculate the percentage discount, the actual savings offered to consumers was much lower than advertised. Energy retailers are reminded that any discount must be genuine and not based on confusing and inappropriate calculations, which result in inflated percentage discount claims being advertised to consumers.”
The ACCC announcement is here.
GadgetGuy’s take – Dodo should be extinct
DoDo, founded in 2001, was acquired by Vocus Group in 2013.
I have a long memory – it happens when you have been in tech since 1979.
Not wanting to sledge the company (speak ill of the extinct – bad pun) but its reputation from day one was cheap and not so cheerful. Its ADSL contention ratios were sky-high (too many users to get anywhere near advertised speeds), its sales practices – high pressure, its support – non-existent, and its social conscience – nil. And that was on a good day!
The ACCC did not have the teeth back then when in 2007-08 the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman received a staggering 6683 complaints about Dodo. The main complaints were outright misleading offers and extremely poor service.
But it did receive a fine of $147,000 for pressure selling to phone numbers listed on the “Do not call” register without consent.
Dodo’s rogue cowboy actions were the catalyst for then Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs Minister, Chris Bowen to introduce changes to the Trade Practices Act to enhance powers for the ACCC including allowing it to impose financial penalties and seek refunds on behalf of consumers.
Now under Vocus.
This is the third strike against the brand in just on a year. First in May last year to refund 3384 of its customers for false claims about NBN speeds. Second just a few weeks ago to refund an estimated $360,00 to 16,000 present and past customers for misleading NBN speed claims. And now for misleading energy claims.
Product Reviews gives it a 1.5-star rating (from 2803 users – 2254 gave it 1 star), and users say that it’s highly predatory and aggressive trying to tie you up as with a gas/electricity/NBN and mobile bundles. “Once they have your details, they will harass you with sales calls trying to get you to sign up with every other service they provide. Only a fool would sign up with them.”