ACCC forces company to refund misled businesses

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken action against Business Pages for misleading businesses over the cost of a standard listing in its online directory.

Melbourne-based Business Pages widely circulated an application form to Australian businesses in October last year, inviting them to take out a listing in its online business directory.

The form provided a number of 'tick the box' listing options in addition to the standard listing. Each additional option had a price next to it, ranging from $49 to $199, but there was no price beside the standard listing.

The only mention of the standard listing, which cost $1449 a year for a minimum of two years, was embedded in fine print at the bottom of the application.

ACCC's chairman, Graeme Samuel said in a media statement that all consumers, individuals or businesses, need to be informed in a clear and transparent manner about the cost of services and goods being offered.

"It is unacceptable for costs to be concealed in fine print, obscured or not be readily apparent. Knowing the cost of doing business is a fundamental consumer right," he said.

Finding the form to be in breach of the Trade Practices Act, the commission, has ordered Business Pages to cease using the misleading application form and send a letter to all businesses that signed up any time from October last year.

The letter needs to clearly point out all the costs and to ask businesses to return a signed consent, stating that they were not misled and that they wish to remain on the directory.

If businesses do not return a signed consent they will be removed from the directory and receive a refund.

Samuel said the ACCC receives a number of complaints involving misleading advertising, but that those related to e-business are more insidious than hard-copy advertising.

"Because of the ubiquitous nature of e-business, material reaches out to a far greater number of people so the propensity to be misled is greatly increased," he said.

The ACCC was unable to immediately provide exact numbers of the businesses that have been or may have been misled.

Business Pages was unable to be contacted for a response.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dahna McConnachie

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?