ACCC slams mobile premium service promotion

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has once again come down hard on mobile premium services after it found Clarion Marketing Australia was misleading consumers with a dodgy promotion.

According to the ACCC, Clarion Marketing Australia distributed around 10 million promotional scratch cards for its Moby mobile premium service between January and October 2009.

Graeme Samuels, ACCC chairman, explained how this promotion was misleading consumers.

“The scratch cards appeared to be a game of chance but were really a ploy to trick consumers into signing up for a mobile premium subscription service costing $10 per week,” he said.

“The only real winner here was Clarion as they made money from consumers who were misled into signing up to a costly mobile premium subscription service.”

The ACCC said that the scratch cards offered prizes including cash, holidays, electrical items and a Mercedes SLK. But after investigating the matter the ACCC found that the most common prize was a holiday voucher that required a minimum spend if it was to be used at all.

The Federal Court has made orders for declarations, injunctions to stop future conduct and correctives by way of a text message to be sent to current and former subscribers advising them of the outcome of the proceedings.

The ACCC has taken on numerous mobile premium service companies in the past including TMG Asia Pacific’s parent company in the Netherlands, AMV Holdings Limited in the UK and Teracomm Limited in Bulgaria.

“In early 2009 the ACCC warned the industry to clean up its act or face the consequences. This is another example of successful court action taken by the ACCC in the area of misleading mobile premium services promotions,” Samuel said.

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