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Telco sector must learn lessons

11 Sep 2012
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Labour believes Vodafone New Zealand's $960,000 fine should deter other companies from breaching similar rules.

The Party's Communications and IT spokesperson Clare Curran says the Commerce Commission's punishment for breaches of the Fair Trading Act should be a lesson to telcos to stop duping consumers.

“The message from the Commerce Commission is that if you knowingly mislead the consumer you will get caught and it will cost you," Curran says.

“Today’s fine for broadband and mobile phone promotions, including ‘Broadband everywhere’ and ‘Supa Prepay Connection Pack’, comes off the back of a $500,000 fine imposed by the courts last year for six other breaches to the Fair Trading Act.

“Vodafone isn’t alone, however.

"Telecom - New Zealand’s other power player - was recently hit with a $12 million penalty for using its market dominance to deter competitors.

Labour’s concern in the current environment - where companies are able to put money-making ahead of fair play, customer loyalty and service satisfaction -  is that there isn’t a group committed solely to consumer advocacy in this sector.

“New Zealanders need an industry level ‘loud speaker’, similar to the Australian Consumer Communications Action Network, where they can voice their concerns about telecommunications and broadcasting content.

“They need a way to verify claims being made about products, they need transparency and they need honesty from the companies they choose to support.

“That means providing consumers with dedicated representation and clout in the sector."

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