ComCom warns Spark for misleading customers

Spark has been warned by the Commerce Commission for likely breaching the law - in the regulator's view - when it notified customers of a broadband price rise.

The warning follows Spark emails in August and September 2018, notifying its contract copper broadband customers about a $5 a month price rise

Spark's contractual terms and conditions stated that it would not change the monthly charge for in-contract customers without either gaining the customers' consent or giving them the option to cancel their contract without early termination fees.

However, when Spark notified customers of the price rise on its website and in email communications, the telco focused solely on the $5 a month price increase and did not explain that if customers did not consent to the price rise they had the right to terminate their contract without penalty.

Commissioner Anna Rawlings says in the Commission's view, Spark has likely breached the Fair Trading Act by making false or misleading representations about the existence or effect of its customers' rights when it notified them of the price rise.

Spark responded to the Commission's enquiries by updating information on its website and sending updated information to customers affected by the price rise.

Last month, Spark was fined more than half a million dollars for misleading customers in a separate incident relating to a $100 credit.

Earlier this year, Vodafone NZ drew flak for a $3 month price imposed across all of its broadband plans.

The telco said it was passing on accumulated price rises from wholesaler Chorus.

Consumer NZ said prices should not be increased during a fixed-term contract.

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