Telco Superfone to pay $300K for making unsolicited calls and misrepresentations

The Federal Court has fined telco Superfone $300,000 in penalties for making unsolicited telemarketing calls and making false and misleading claims about their affiliation with consumers’ existing providers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) pursued the proceedings in 2019 after more than 1,400 consumers were contacted by Superfone’s telemarketing agents between June 2017 and December 2018 and were signed up to unsolicited new contracts with Superfone.

During the calls Superfone made the misleading claim that consumers had no right to a cooling-off period or to terminate their contract. When consumers attempted to cancel the contracts they were charged termination fees.

“Superfone’s behaviour was unacceptable. After making unsolicited calls, it misled consumers into entering contracts which the consumers did not want, and did not provide them with information about the ten-day cooling-off period or their rights to terminate the contract,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard explained.

Many of the consumers contacted were elderly people and the court found that Superfone’s customer base tended to target vulnerable consumers, “or at least was only successful in securing unsolicited agreements with vulnerable consumers who were less capable of protecting their consumer rights.”

Further rulings from the court found that Superfone failed to provide consumers with written agreement documentation, and did not comply with the requirement that written agreements inform consumers of termination rights.

In addition to the fine the court ordered Superfone to email consumers who entered one of the unsolicited contracts and paid a termination fee to advise them to contact Superfone for a full refund.

Other consumers whose contracts have expired but are still receiving month-to-month service will also be emailed informing them of the opportunity to exit their contract without charge.

“All businesses must comply with the Australian Consumer Law provisions dealing with unsolicited calls and door to door sales, including the ten-day cooling-off period and termination rights. These laws exist to protect consumers when dealing with cold callers, and give them the opportunity to change their minds about a purchase or agreement they have made as a result,” Rickard said.

“We will continue to take enforcement action against businesses which contravene the unsolicited consumer agreements provisions.”

The ruling was made by the court in June 2020. Superfone admitted liability but contested the penalty and court orders.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.