Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v TPG Internet Pty Ltd

Jeannie Marie Paterson and Veronica Wong, ‘Fine Print Disclaimers May Not Protect Advertising from being Misleading: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v TPG Internet Pty Ltd‘ (6 January 2014).

The High Court has allowed an appeal against the decision of the Full Federal Court, which declared that TPG had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and had made false or misleading representations in breach of various provisions in ss 52 and 53 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), in relation to a broadband internet deal advertised on television in 2010, and ordered TPG to pay $50,000 in fines. The advertising campaign suggested that customers would receive ‘unlimited ADSL2+’ for $29.99 month, but in less prominent terms required that customers bundle that deal together with a TPG home phone line at $30 a month. The majority (French CJ, Crennan, Bell and Keane JJ) held that the FCAFC erred, first, in holding that the primary judge incorrectly held the ‘dominant message’ to be crucially important, and secondly, in failing to appreciate that the tendency to mislead was not neutralised by attributing knowledge to the target audience that ADSL2+ services may be offered as a bundle. The Court also set aside the FCAFC’s  reinstated the primary judge’s penalty assessment.

High Court Judgment [2013] HCA 54 12 December 2013
Result Appeal allowed
High Court Documents ACCC v TPG Internet
Full Court Hearing [2013] HCATrans 261  1 November 2013
Special Leave Hearing [2013] HCATrans 177 16 August 2013
Appeal from FCAFC [2013] FCAFC 37 4 April 2013
Appeal from FCAFC [2012] FCAFC 190 20 December 2012
Trial Judgments FCA
[2012] FCA 1254 4 November 2012

[2012] FCA 629 15 June 2012