The ACCC has slammed AMV Holdings Ltd, a UK-based premium mobile services company, for ignoring earlier warnings and deceiving consumers.

Published in Dolly, Girlfriend and TV Hits, the company’s adverts have been deemed misleading by the ACCC. Singled out for their busy layout, targeting of youth and inadequately disclosed payment plan, acting ACCC chairman, Peter Kell also alleged their use of fine print disclaimers was inappropriate and in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The ACCC was particularly concerned that consumers were being deceived into believing they were making a one-off purchase rather than subscribing to an ongoing plan.

In a separate move, the ACCC requested the Federal Court order an interim injunction against Clarion Marketing Australia for distributing ambiguous scratch cards through magazines TV Week, Zoo and New Weekly. After scratching the panels, consumers were required to SMS to enter. They would then be subscribed to a $10 per six days service.

Mr Kell further explained the actions:

“Mobile commerce, including premium SMS content, is a burgeoning market place. But misleading marketing is threatening to bring the reputation of the Australian telecommunications industry—including content providers, aggregators and telcos —into disrepute. Consumers are frustrated and have had enough of being duped by misleading advertisements for expensive mobile subscription services.”

Putting all on notice, Mr Kell outlined the ACCC’s intention to closely monitor those involved, including the publications.

This is not the first instance of action against international mobile services, TMG Asia Pacific and Bulgaria based Teracomm Limited are previous offenders targeted by the ACCC.