ACCC fines telco over alleged retirement home trickery

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ACCC fines telco over alleged retirement home trickery

Vulnerable consumers targeted.

The competition regulator has fined Adelaide-based telco provider Voiteck, claiming it tried to dupe residents of a South Australian retirement village into thinking they had to sign up for its services.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today said Voiteck had paid a $10,200 penalty over a letter it sent to residents of a Lifestyle SA aged care facility.

In the letter, Voiteck wrote that the retirement village had chosen it as their telecommunications provider and that it would be migrating residents to its services.

The ACCC took umbrage with Voiteck’s suggestion that the residents had no choice in their selection of an internet and telephone provider.

The regulator found that Voiteck had made false and misleading representations to the residents in breach of consumer protection laws.

However, the ACCC also said Voiteck’s payment of the infringement was “not an admission of a contravention of (Australian Consumer Law)”.

iTnews contacted Voiteck managing director Declan O’Callaghan for comment but a company representative said he was overseas and unreachable.

The company’s representative said O’Callaghan was the only person in the company authorised to speak to media about the matter.

Acting ACCC Chairman Michael Schaper said he was particularly concerned that the letter targeted elderly vulnerable consumers.

“Consumer protection issues involving vulnerable consumers, particularly older consumers, is a current enforcement priority for the ACCC,” Schaper said.

O’Callaghan has previously told South Australian media that he wants the company to be the state’s dominant VoIP provider.

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