Telco caught in watchdog crackdown on contract terms: Midday roundup

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched proceedings against a telecommunications company in the Federal Court, alleging it had unfair contract terms in its standard form contracts.

ByteCard, also known as Netspeed Internet Communications, allegedly had three terms in its contract which the ACCC consider unfair, including one which allowed it to change prices under an existing contract without giving the consumer a right to terminate the contract.

Other breaches included terms which required the consumer to indemnify ByteCard in every circumstance and terms which allowed it to terminate the contract at any time without reason or cause.

This action by the ACCC follows an investigation earlier this year into contract terms in standard form contracts.

Mobile company directors banned for five years

The Federal Court has found a mobile services company engaged in false, misleading and unconscionable conduct when it induced customers into 24-month phone contracts and falsely represented the company’s network coverage.

The directors of Excite Mobile, Obie Brown and David Samuel, were also found to have been aware of the misconduct.

The court found a number of breaches against the company, including creating a fictional complaints handling organisation.

The directors have been disqualified from managing a corporation for five years.

Manufacturing activity increases in first quarter
Manufacturing activity increased during the first quarter of the year, according to the latest NAB Manufacturing Index.

The index shows activity grew to neutral levels, up from the -0.3 points recorded back in the December quarter.

“This index level implies that there was no growth in quarterly manufacturing activity in Q1,” the report said.

Shares open on modest lead

The Australian sharemarket has opened slightly higher this morning following a modest lead from offshore markets over the weekends.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 15.5 points or 0.3% to 4,947.4 at 12.15 AEST, while in the United States last week the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 10.4 points or 0.1% to 14,547.5.

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