Increasingly popular premium SMS services lead to complaints

1 Oct 2008

It seems almost too easy. Answer a simple quiz question, send the answer away by SMS and win a $2499 MacBook Air. But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission argues this high-rotation television advertisement and others like it mislead viewers. While the quiz might have seemed like an inexpensive and entertaining diversion, quiz entrants were actually charged a $5 joining fee, sent up to 10 subsequent quiz questions at a cost of $5 each, and received an ongoing subscription of six $5 SMS messages each month. And, after shelling out $85 during their first month, curious participants might have read the terms and conditions to discover that no resident of Queensland, Victoria or the Australian Capital Territory was eligible to win the prize anyway. The "Text and Win" Mac Air advertisement is one of three TV ads by TMG Asia Pacific that are subject to an ACCC lawsuit.

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