TPG handed another victory over ACCC in 'prepayment' allegations

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TPG handed another victory over ACCC in 'prepayment' allegations

TPG has once again emerged victorious in its defence against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over claims that the telco misled customers over a ‘prepayment’ charge.

The agency took the telco to court in December 2018, alleging that TPG charged customers a $20 fee when signing up to a TPG plan as a prepayment to cover costs that might be incurred but are not included in their plan, such as overseas phone calls.

The Federal Court sided with TPG in October 2019, saying that TPG did not unfairly charge customers a non-refundable bond. An appeal was lodged the following month.

The Full Federal Court dismissed the appeal, saying 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.

Speaking on the court ruling, ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said, “We took this case and appealed the previous decision because we considered that TPG was misleading consumers by not adequately disclosing the details about the mandatory prepayment.”

“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.”

“We remain concerned that TPG’s customers were not able to use up their full prepayment, or get a refund for any unused funds.”

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