Claiming official endorsement of a product or service by a regulator is not a good idea, as a telecommunications provider discovered once said regulator discovered the ruse.
Australian Private Networks, which trades as Activ8me, was accused by the competition regulator of using its name to endorse services.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Activ8me incorporated marketing on its website between November 2017 and January 2018 that said it was “named Australia’s #1 Sky MusterTM provider by the ACCC”.
The website also boasted: “The ACCC have released their quarterly NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report today, once again naming Activ8me the #1 provider of NBN Sky Muster satellite services in Australia”.
However, the ACCC said that its report merely listed Activ8me as having the highest number of satellite services, and in no way provided an endorsement of its, or any other operator’s, offering.
“The ACCC does not endorse or approve particular businesses and it is imperative that consumers trust our name and logo when it is used,” said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court.
“As soon as we became aware of the misuse of our report findings and logo, we contacted Activ8me and issued an Infringement Notice. Activ8me has since removed the representations.”
Ms Court added that issuing the financial penalty to Activ8me “serves as a warning” to other businesses about misrepresenting the role of regulators to consumers.
The ACCC noted that payment of a penalty does not amount to admission of a breach of Australian Consumer Law.
According to its website, Activ8me provides satellite broadband to approximately 40,000 customers in rural and regional communities across Australia.
The Melbourne-based business also works with the federal government to provide community phone services in remote Indigenous communities.