Auckland District Court has ruled that Vodafone was guilty of nine charges under section 11 of the Fair Trading Act relating to its conduct over its “FibreX” service.
Judge Sinclair found Vodafone’s branding and advertising was liable to mislead consumers into thinking “FibreX” was a fibre-to-the-home network, when it was not.
The service Vodafone was offering was, in fact, only fibre-to-the cabinet and from there a coaxial copper cable completed the final connection to the home. This, of course, limits the potential speed of the service to the speed the “coaxial copper cable” is capa
It did this by naming its broadband service “FibreX” and advertising on billboards, radio, in-store, online and in direct marketing, using phrases such as “FibreX is here” or “FibreX has arrived” and beams of light as a background to its visuals.
Commerce Commission Chair Anna Rawlings said:
“Businesses must take care to ensure that their description of the products and services they are offering is clear and unambiguous and is not liable to mislead their customers into thinking that they are getting something different from what is on offer. They must not operate under the assumption that consumers will make further enquiries to find out exactly what is being offered to them.”
Vodafone is due to be sentenced later this year.