Friday 19 August 2016 10:22 AM
Trustpower to plead guilty over misleading broadband offer
By Paul McBeth
Aug. 19 (BusinessDesk) - Trustpower intends to plead guilty to charges claiming the electricity generator and retailer mislead customers over the market and sale of a bundled power and broadband offer.
The Commerce Commission filed seven charges under the Fair Trading Act in the Auckland District Court over a Trustpower ad campaign between March and July last year promoting a $49 a month deal promoting 12 months of unlimited broadband in a bundle package, it said in a statement.
However, the $49 price was only available to customers who signed up on a 24-month contract, and the second 12-month period would be at $79 a month, a disclosure that was only in the small print 'terms and conditions' at the foot of the ad. Quitting the contract also incurred exit fees.
"Trustpower has cooperated with the commission's investigation and has indicated that it intends to plead guilty to the charges," the regulator said.
In a separate statement, the power company said its plea was to expedite matters, and that it acted quickly to change its promotion when the commission raised its concerns.
"Trustpower is disappointed at the NZCC's (New Zealand Commerce Commission) decision to file charges, as the advertising was subject to external review and advice and Trustpower believed it was appropriate, but it acknowledges NZCC's views," it said.
The Tauranga-based power company provides telecommunications services to 66,000 customers, almost a quarter of its electricity connections.
Trustpower shares last traded at $8, having increased 2.6 percent so far this year.