By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: Two Australian mobile phone services have been ordered by the Federal Court to pay a combined total of $375,000 in penalty fees according to the ACCC.

Global One Mobile Entertainment Ltd and 6G Pty Ltd were slammed by the ACCC for “false and misleading advertisements for mobile premium services,” according to a statement from the government regulator.

The ACCC alleged that Global One and 6G misrepresented their services as one-off purchases, rather than premium services that attracted ongoing service subscription fees.

The advertisements included promotions by Global One for a Justin Bieber “One Time” ringtone, and promotions for a quiz, a Space Invaders game app and a Doodle Jump game app offered by 6G.

Global One certainly felt the pains of Bieber Fever after the Federal Court slapped the company with the highest individual penalty of $150,000 for their ringtone advertisement.

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In her preliminary judgment her, Justice Bennett stated, “The Justin Bieber Advertisement is, in my view, the most egregious of the Advertisements. Clearly it was of appeal to under 18 year olds, including under 15 year olds.”

6G was penalised $75,000 for each of its three advertisements.

According to ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel, "The market is changing and newer technologies may see the end of many of these services. Traders in mobile content looking to make a quick gain by misleading consumers will find themselves in court facing significant penalties."

The ACCC is using the Federal Court judgement to prove the success of their broader strategy to crack down on mobile premium serves.

“This matter formed part of a broader strategy implemented by the ACCC to assist in addressing problems in the complaints-ridden mobile premium services industry. Since 2008, the ACCC has taken action against eight other industry participants, all with positive outcomes to date.

“The changes in regulatory requirements, market interest shifting towards smart phone technology such as 'apps' and court and other regulatory action by the ACCC and other agencies has resulted in a dramatic decline in complaints about mobile premium services.

“Both Global One and 6G have indicated that they will appeal the court's decision.”