South Australian mobile phone provider Excite Mobile has been found guilty of false, misleading and unconscionable conduct by the Federal Court after the ACCC took action against the company for faking a debt collection agency, creating a fictional complaints body, and misrepresenting scope of mobile coverage.
The Federal Court ruled Excite acted unconscionably in getting customers onto a 24 month phone contract, and used “undue coercion” when sending fake debt collection letters to 1074 customers, according to a statement by the competition watchdog.
The phone number included on the fake debt collection letters was answered by Excite Mobile staff.
The ACCC said the company had falsely stated on the letters that a court would make the customers pay 20 percent of the debt for failing to pay on time, and would order the repossession of all valuable assets owned by the customer, including children’s toys, to force late-paying customers to hand over the owed amount.
Excite Mobile directors Obie Brown and David Samuel were also found to have created a fake complaints company, called
Telecommunications Industry Complaints, to deceive customers into believing their complaints were being handled externally and independently.
Additionally, the company told customers mobile service was available at their premises when it wasn’t, including in indigenous communities — via redwolf.newsvine.com