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BDFL - Memuneh
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#268198 4-Mar-2020 17:14
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Just received:

 

 

Energy retail company Contact Energy Limited has been fined $245,000 in the Wellington District Court for misleading customers in an advertising promotion.

Contact pleaded guilty and was convicted on seven charges under the Fair Trading Act 1986 relating to false or misleading representations made in the promotion of its Fuel Rewards Plans, which offered fuel discounts with the AA Smartfuel rewards scheme alongside electricity plans. 

The promotion offered fuel discounts of 10 or 30 cents “every month” to new and existing customers who signed up or stayed on certain Contact electricity plans. 

The representations were accompanied by various advertising slogans such as ‘No tricks, no waiting, no surprises’, ‘No ifs, no buts, no surprises, no rubbish, no word of a lie’ and ‘They call that a no-brainer’.

However, the advertising failed to adequately disclose key information, including that the discount could be redeemed on only one fuel fill per month and only up to a maximum of 50 litres. It was not clear that the offer did not provide a discount for every litre of fuel purchased in a month.

Promotion for the rewards scheme ran from 4 April 2017, when Contact joined the AA Smartfuel rewards scheme as a participating retailer, to 1 July 2017. The promotion covered a wide number of advertising platforms, including e-mails and letters to existing customers, as well as TV, radio, newspaper, bus advertising, digital billboards and online advertisements to the public.  

Commission Chair Anna Rawlings says consumers have a right to expect businesses will be upfront and clear about their prices and discounts, so they can properly assess the benefits of signing up to an offer.

“In this case, consumers did not necessarily understand how the AA Smartfuel rewards scheme operated. Complaints to the Commission demonstrated that consumers did not all understand how the discount scheme worked and the limitations that applied to the offer. Offers to consumers need to be accurate and clear on their face, so that consumers can rely on the information they are receiving and make their decisions accordingly,” says Ms Rawlings. 

“Additionally, the Commission regarded the reassuring “no tricks, no surprises” aspects of the advertisements as being likely to have reassured consumers that there was no other fine-print or information that needed to be understood before deciding whether to accept one of the offers. But in reality, the qualifications limited the benefits being offered,” says Ms Rawlings.

In sentencing Judge IG Mill said this information was important. It should have been made clear in the promotion and it was a simple matter to do so.

 





 

 

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  #2432647 4-Mar-2020 17:42
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Wow. I wouldn't call this misleading?

 




BDFL - Memuneh
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  #2432648 4-Mar-2020 17:45
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When did you take this screenshot? Just now, or before the case went to courts?





 

 

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  #2432742 4-Mar-2020 19:16
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The 50l thing is the catch on all these fuel schemes. Really limits the usefulness of them.





Richard rich.ms

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  #2432851 4-Mar-2020 22:55
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richms:

 

The 50l thing is the catch on all these fuel schemes. Really limits the usefulness of them.

 

 

 

 

I used to agree when I drove a car with a 100 litre tank!

 

 

 

New car only 65 litre tank so less of a drama.






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  #2432852 4-Mar-2020 22:57
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freitasm:

 

When did you take this screenshot? Just now, or before the case went to courts?

 

 

 

 

Absent an answer to your (good) point, I would still be quite surprised if the original (if the shot is not of it) did not at least say something about T&Cs applying.






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  #2432854 4-Mar-2020 23:05
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tehgerbil:

 

Wow. I wouldn't call this misleading?

 

 



It makes no mention of the 50L limit, as such I feel it is misleading.

If Geektastic fully fueled his/her old car with a 100L tank, I think they would be rightly aggrieved when it was found out the discount was only worth half what was advertised. Even more dramatic if you choose to use you fill on a boat with a 200L petrol tank.


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  #2432910 5-Mar-2020 08:24
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Actually, that is a fair call - about the 50L tank limit. I used the Waybackmachine :)

 

 

 

 


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