Telcos warned over misleading offers

  • 14/08/2017
Four NZ telco companies have been served warnings.
Four NZ telco companies have been served warnings. Photo credit: Getty

The Commerce Commission has given warnings to four New Zealand telecommunication companies for misleading customers.

MyRepublic, Two Degrees New Zealand, Spark and Vodafone were sent warning letters after the Commission announced the 2017/2018 year would focus on retail telcos, given the complexity and range of services offered.

"The telecommunications sector has the potential to have a significant impact on consumers," Commissioner Anna Rawlings said, "[and it] continues to generate a high volume of consumer complaints, despite previous compliance and enforcement work by the Commission."

Further investigation is ongoing over issues such as incorrect billing and usage calculation, unfair contract terms and representations of internet ability.

Each of the four companies, in the Commission's view, are likely to have breached the Fair Trading Act differently.

MyRepublic has been accused of misrepresenting internet speeds and cancellation policies; Two Degrees allegedly misrepresented the price of an unlimited broadband plan; Spark alleged Vodafone's 2G service was shutting down, and Vodafone apparently offered "free" goods when an additional fee was required, the Commission said.

In recent years, action has been taken by the Commission against a number of telco companies; in September last year, Trustpower was fined $390,000 for misleading customers over bundled pricing.

In September 2016, Vodafone was fined $165,000 for false price representations on invoices, and in 2014 reached a $268,000 settlement over the promotion of its 'Broadband Lite' service.