Darwin telco faces regulator over network coverage

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Darwin telco faces regulator over network coverage

EDirect faces Federal Court for the third time.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) this week instituted its third Federal Court case against Darwin telco EDirect for misleading conduct.

EDirect, which traded as VIPtel Mobile, was to face court on 17 May for entering into mobile phone contracts with consumers who provided addresses in areas with no network coverage.

Those contracts were allegedly struck by telemarketers. According to the ACCC, EDirect engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by implying that the services would work in those areas.

The regulator sought pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, redress for affected consumers and court costs.

This week’s case came despite a February 2008 ruling that EDirect breached the Trades Practices Act for selling 24-month contracts to remote, unserviceable communities.

At the time, Federal Court Justice John Edward Reeves ordered EDirect to pay costs of $50,000 to the ACCC, refund more than 150 customers, and not to engage in the conduct again.

EDirect’s second legal dispute with the ACCC reached the Federal Court last August, and was yet to conclude.

The ACCC claimed last August that EDirect had made misleading representations to customers that a friend or family member “loved the calling plan” they had been offered by VIPtel, and that the customer had pre-approved credit and could therefore afford the contract on offer.

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