New Zealand’s Commerce Commission warned Vodafone New Zealand, Spark, 2degrees and broadband operator MyRepublic it believed all four had breached fair trade regulations.
Each operator is being probed for different suspected breaches, mostly related to fixed broadband services. The exception is Spark, which was accused of making misleading statements in a marketing campaign for its Skinny Mobile service.
In its statement, the consumer watchdog said Spark made “representations Vodafone’s 2G network was imminently closing” in its advertising campaign.
2degrees is accused of making misleading statements on pricing for its unlimited broadband plan. MyRepublic’s potential breaches are around service quality guarantees and its cancellation policy.
Vodafone was accused of advertising “free” services, which actually required the purchase of additional services or payment of fees to receive them.
In addition to the potential breaches already identified, the watchdog warned it was in the process of investigating a range of other issues. These include billing problems, unfair contract terms, availability of internet services, calculation of broadband data usage and failure to identify the nature of mobile add ons.
Commissioner Anna Rawlings said: “The complexity and range of goods and services offered by the industry means consumers can be easily confused about product offerings.”
“As we noted when announcing our 2017/18 priorities, the telco sector continues to generate a high volume of consumer complaints, despite previous compliance and enforcement work by the Commission.”
The move looks to be part of a wider effort to assess the performance of consumer communications services in New Zealand, and comes weeks after the Commerce Commission announced a full review into the telecommunications market in the country.