Netspeed hit with ACCC lawsuit for 'unfair' contract terms

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Netspeed hit with ACCC lawsuit for 'unfair' contract terms

Watchdog claims contravention of consumer law.

Internet service provider ByteCard is to become the first test case by the ACCC of new unfair contract terms within Australian Consumer Law, following the launch of legal action by the regulator.

The ACCC will argue ByteCard, which operates as Netspeed Internet Connections and Leading Edge Internet, made unfair claims in its consumer contracts.

It is the second time the company has come under the ACCC spotlight this year, following its $75,000 Federal Court fine in February for failing to refund customers who made complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) from 2006 to 2011.

Its director Brian Morris was separately hit with a $37,500 fine.

The ACCC’s latest case with ByteCard revolves around contract clauses which allow the company to change the price on an existing contract without allowing the customer to cancel it; require consumers to compensate ByteCard in circumstances where ByteCard may have breached the contract; and terminate the contract with no reason at any time. 

The ACCC said the terms are unreasonable and contravene Australian Consumer Law. It wants the conditions to be declared void. The case will be heard on June 13. 

The move came as a result of an ACCC review of consumer contracts in several verticals around Australia, including telecommunications, which resulted in TPG and Telstra altering contracts the ACCC had indicated to them were unfair. 

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