SpinTel breaches fair advertising rules

The ACMA has directed Sydney-based telco SpinTel Pty Ltd to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code after it incorrectly used the term ‘unlimited’ in its advertisements.

An ACMA investigation found SpinTel advertisements for its SIM only mobile plans did not specify any limitations that applied to the telecommunications service. However, those plans operated such that when customers’ usage reached 20 times higher than the SpinTel average, their accounts would be automatically suspended.

The service limit was set out in an ‘acceptable usage policy’ by SpinTel, but was not identified in SpinTel’s advertising material.

In 2021, over 260 SpinTel customers were suspended for exceeding the service limit in its acceptable usage policy. This meant that for the duration of their billing month, these customers could receive inbound calls and make emergency calls but were prevented from making other outbound calls.

The ACMA opened the investigation after receiving a complaint from a customer whose account had been suspended.

Consumers need to be able to rely on advertising to mention important conditions, limitations and restrictions so that they can purchase products that meet their needs.

The direction to comply signals to telcos the importance of satisfying the advertising requirements in the TCP Code, particularly using the term ‘unlimited’ appropriately.

SpinTel has since revised its policies so that customers with high usage patterns are no longer automatically suspended.

If SpinTel breaks the advertising rules again, the ACMA has a range of enforcement actions available, including being able to issue an infringement notice.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.