The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Dodo Services Pty Ltd (Dodo) and Primus Telecommunications Services Pty Ltd (iPrimus), both owned by Vocus Group (Vocus), alleging they made false or misleading claims about the NBN broadband speeds their customers could achieve during busy evening hours.
The ACCC alleges that, between March 2018 and April 2019, Dodo and iPrimus made false or misleading claims on their websites about the speeds consumers could expect if they signed up to their NBN broadband services.
“We believe many of Dodo and iPrimus’ NBN customers would have been unable to regularly receive the advertised speeds during the busy evening period of between 7pm-11pm,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“The ACCC will argue that Dodo and iPrimus used a fundamentally flawed testing methodology, developed by Vocus, which was not a reasonable basis for their advertising claims about certain typical evening speeds.”
“It is alleged that the testing methodology determined the ‘typical evening speed’ claims by using only the daily 75 fastest speeds observed across Vocus’ entire network in the busy period, excluding slower speeds where a connection was more likely to be impacted by congestion.”
“Consumers need reliable broadband speed information in order to decide which provider to get an NBN service from. How broadband speeds hold up during busy evening periods is a critical issue for many consumers, and all service providers must have a reasonable basis for the broadband speed claims that they make,” Mr Sims said.
Since February 2019, the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia (MBA) Program has shown Dodo and iPrimus’ broadband speeds have consistently performed towards the lower end of the nine NBN providers measured and reported on.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, penalties and costs.
Under the Australian Consumer Law, service providers must not make false or misleading representations that services have certain performance characteristics.
Dodo and iPrimus are both owned by Vocus Group (Vocus) and use the Vocus telecommunications network to provide NBN services to consumers.
In August 2017 the ACCC published its Broadband Speed Claims Guidance to assist providers in making claims about broadband performance. The testing methodology used by Dodo and iPrimus was not consistent with that guidance, as it did not maintain a randomly selected consistent test sample over the test period.