By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: The ACCC has taken a massive swing today at the entire mobile phone industry, slamming everyone from the call service providers, phone manufacturers, premium service providers and their advertising agencies.

In his rant-like missive, ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said people of all ages and backgrounds had complained of being ripped off by misleading advertising, hidden costs and misleading information.

"The ACCC is concerned that providers of phone services like plans, phone cards and mobile premium services often fail to properly disclose the true costs and other important terms upfront," said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.

"Some deals are confusing and feature busy, distracting visuals and hard to read fine print, which on closer scrutiny may be misleading.

"Phone service providers must lift their game and recognise the overall impression created by advertising has to be a true and accurate reflection of the service delivered.

"Complaints to the ACCC indicate consumers are fed up with getting charged more than they bargained for when the bill arrives, and getting less value than they were promised in the case of phone cards.

"This affects people from all walks of life — young people who are attracted to mobile premium services like ringtones and games; travellers and others who see phone cards as a great opportunity to make international calls and then find they don’t get the value they think they’ve paid for; Australians in regional areas who might find they’re paying for services they can’t access — the list goes on.

“And the costs to consumers can have a devastating impact on personal and household budgets.”