Not even the sacred Australian sport of football is immune from the ACCC’s reach. Collingwood Football Club has been left red faced after the ACCC issued two infringement notices to the Club last week in relation to advertising for a membership offer.
The advertisements in question appeared in the Herald Sun and in an email which was sent to more than 90,000 people in May this year.
The advertisements prominently promoted a three game membership and a guernsey with a free cap and scarf for ‘only $20*’. An image of the Club logo alongside a black and white guernsey also featured in the advertising. A fine print disclaimer indicated that a 6 month payment plan was available. However, the advertisements did not disclose that the total price payable for the offer was in fact $120. The ACCC was concerned that the Club’s promotion of only part of the price payable for membership was a breach of the Australian Consumer Law provision that requires a total minimum price to be prominently specified.
According to ACCC Chairman, Mr Rod Sims, ‘[c]onsumers should know the real price of goods and services so that they are able to make informed purchasing decisions’.
The Club issued a statement acknowledging that it was at fault, though noting that this was without intention, and stressing its understanding that no-one was misled by the advertising.
Collingwood has paid $20,400 in penalties for its conduct which was brought to the regulator’s attention by a recipient of the email, which is also perhaps a lesson for the Club – don’t mess with a Collingwood supporter off or on the field.
The action taken by the ACCC against Collingwood is consistent with other enforcement action by the ACCC against companies for similar conduct, highlighting a focus by the regulator on businesses that fail to properly advertise pricing, for example, iiNet’s payment of infringement notices totalling $102,000 for failing to prominently displaying the monthly price and total minimum price in a bus advertisement, Foxtel’s payment of seven infringement notices totalling $46,200 in relation to price advertising for a ‘Christmas Sale’ and Dodo’s payment of $26,400 worth of infringement notices for false price representations about its ADSL2+ services.