Are you sick of your teenage kids getting ripped off by overseas mobile companies offering expensive applications? So is consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The Commission has launched legal action against two overseas-based companies for alleged misleading advertising of mobile telephone premium services in Australian teen magazines, costing the teens or their parents a lot of money by unwittingly signing up to the services.

The ACCC is concerned that the companies’ advertising does not adequately disclose the nature of the services being offered and their costs, and is particularly worried that consumers responding to the ads could unknowingly subscribe to high-cost, ongoing service when they think they are simply completing a one-off purchase of a ring tone or wallpaper.

The two companies – AMV Holdings fro Britain and Bulgaria’s Teracomm – are the subject of the legal action under the Trade Practices Act.

Graeme Samuel, ACCC chairman, believes that advertisers must not rely on minute fine print to disclose important terms and conditions.

“The costs and nature of the services must be prominently and clearly identifiable within the advertisement, particularly when it is targeting young people,” explains Samuel.

The ACCC has also obtained enforceable undertakings from magazine publishers Pacific Magazines (the publisher of Girlfriend and TV Hits) and ACP Magazines (the publisher of Dolly, Cosmopolitan and Cleo) to improve the overall standard of advertising for mobile premium services.