The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has rebuked Optus for “confusing and deceptive advertising” with its ‘Think Bigger’ and ‘Supersonic’ broadband Internet provider campaigns.

The ACCC found that Optus breached the Trade Practices Act 1974 with misleading conduct. The campaigns advertised peak and off-peak bundles with data limits (eg; 50GB peak +70GB off-peak per month).

However, Justice Perram declared that Optus did not sufficiently disclose that the advertised service would be speed limited to a sluggish 64kbps once a consumer exceeded their peak data allowance. The consequence was that any unused off-peak data would no longer be available at a broadband speed.

“The contravention here is a serious one,” Justice Perram said, “and the public should be protected from any further repetition of it.

Optus maintains it had not breached the law because any consumer who may have been misled by the advertisements had their misapprehensions corrected through the Optus call centre or website before they signed up for a plan.

Federal Court Justice Nye Perram has ordered an injunction on the ads. Financial penalties will be handed down at a later date.