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Spark charged over billing issues and offer to new customers

9 July 2018
Release no. 152


The Commission has laid 11 charges against Spark New Zealand Trading Limited (Spark) alleging it made false or misleading representations relating to its billing and a $100 offer for new customers.

The charges were filed in Auckland District Court under the Fair Trading Act and cover the period 2 June 2014 to 7 December 2017.

The Commission says the charges arose from three separate alleged failings:
Spark overcharged customers for broadband data when a fault in Spark’s broadband network misrecorded customer data usage.

Spark sent letters offering new customers a $100 account credit for subscribing to a particular broadband plan but failed to mention the offer could only be redeemed by phoning Spark. The offers allegedly created the impression that customers signing up online would receive the credit, when they would not.

From 2 June 2014, Spark’s terms and conditions said charges would stop 30 days after the customer gave notice to terminate their contract. However, the Commission alleges that the customer’s final bill included charges for the entire next monthly billing period regardless of when the Spark service stopped.
As this case is before the Court, the Commission cannot comment further at this time.

Background
Spark is a major provider of internet, mobile and telephone services to New Zealand consumers and businesses. Formerly trading as Telecom New Zealand Limited, it has operated as a publicly traded company since 1990 and is currently listed on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges.

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