The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has lost a full federal court appeal over the validity of a $20 “prepayment” charged by TPG Internet.
The commission filed suit back in late 2018, alleging the prepayment was “misleading” because it “operates as a non-refundable fee and TPG retains at least $10 of the prepayment when a customer cancels their plan”.
“The ACCC’s case was that by representing this as a ‘prepayment’, consumers were misled by TPG into thinking they could use all the money they had prepaid for out-of-plan services, when this was not usually possible,” the ACCC said in a statement today.
“The Full Federal Court held that TPG’s use of the word ‘prepayment’ did not convey anything about the way in which TPG would hold and apply the prepayment, particularly at the end of the plan.”
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard maintained in a statement that “consumer awareness of important terms should not be expected where they are contained in the fine print of a long and detailed contract or, in the case of online contracts, after multiple click-throughs.”
Rickard said the ACCC will “now carefully consider the [Full Federal Court] judgment.”