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Rules to advertise telco products and services

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code contains rules about how you advertise products and services.

You must allow customers to make informed choices by communicating in a way that is clear, accurate and not misleading.

Use language that is suitable for the intended audience. Do not exaggerate or leave out key information.

When you advertise a product or service, the level of detail must be appropriate to the medium. For example:

  • the principal message and the main terms must be in the body of the ad
  • disclaimers must be clear and understandable. They should not conflict with the principal message or main terms
  • consider how long a consumer is able to view the advertising

You must make other important information available on your website.

Unless you can prove it, you cannot make a claim in advertising about:

  • broadband speed
  • network coverage
  • other performance characteristics of a telecommunications product

If we ask you in writing, you must substantiate a claim or representation.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also protects consumers by setting rules about advertising.

Information that must be in advertisements

Most ads with an included value plan must prominently display the standard charges. This helps consumers understand they can use the included value or data allowance for these products.

For print ads or brochures of 8 pages or more, ‘prominently' means in a clearly referenced section.

Small online ads can link to a page on your website that contains standard charges information.

Requirements for special promotions

You must disclose the key terms and limitations of the special promotion:

  • limits to the availability of stock
  • time frames that apply
  • eligibility requirements such as using coupons or bundling with other products and services

There are extra rules to advertise NBN services.

What ads must not contain

Advertisements by service providers must not include:

  • misleading headlines about a price or offer where a customer is unlikely or unable to achieve the benefits due to terms and conditions
  • a reference to use as 'unlimited' (or equivalent), unless ordinary use in Australia is genuinely unlimited
  • the terms ‘no exceptions’, ‘no exclusions’ or ‘no catches’ (or equivalents), unless there are genuinely no exceptions for a price or service offer
  • the term ‘free’ (or equivalent) to promote or advertise a product or service if you recover the cost over the life of the contract
  • headlines about a price per minute for mobiles or phone cards when you don’t disclose extra charges. These could be flag fall or call-connection fees or for non-standard calls
  • headlines about a price, unless you clearly identify if it only applies as part of a bundled product or service
  • headline representations about prices unless you prominently display any exclusions
  • headlines about ongoing prices for data where the price is likely to increase within a reasonable use period
  • headlines about the minutes of call time available on phone cards if they are not achievable through ordinary use
  • information on network coverage unless the coverage is generally available to customers in the area you claim
  • a periodic price for a product without prominently displaying the ‘single price

Special rules for the use of the term ‘cap’

Service providers cannot use the term ‘cap’ unless the offer contains a hard cap. A hard cap is a maximum that the customer cannot exceed.

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