Four telecommunications companies have been warned about breaching the Fair Trading Act by the Commerce Commission.
Warning letters were sent to MyRepublic, 2degrees, Spark, and Vodafone by the Commission with specific allegations against each company.
The letters follow the Commission's promise that retail telcos would be a priority for the 2017/18 year.
MyRepublic was warned for:
• Promoting its 1 Gigabit per second service up to two months before it was available.
• Representing that customers on its GAMER broadband service would not experience lag or latency when they could experience lag or latency caused by third-party servers.
• Incorrect representations that consumers' rights of cancellation under the uninvited direct sales provisions of the Fair Trading Act ceased to apply once MyRepublic had commenced the service.
2degrees was warned for:
• Making misleading representations about the price of its unlimited broadband plan, by not identifying or inadequately disclosing the additional cost of a modem and its delivery.
Spark was warned for:
• Making representations that Vodafone's 2G network was imminently closing, in the marketing of Spark's Skinny Mobile service.
Vodafone was warned for:
• Making misleading representations in the promotion of 12-month broadband plans bundled with "free" goods or services when, in order to receive the "free" goods or services, the consumer was required to pay additional fees or to take additional services.
• On some occasions, a monthly headline price was advertised, but that price did not include the additional fees to be paid in order to receive "free" goods or services.
The Commission said these actions were likely to have breached the Fair Trading Act.
"The complexity and range of goods and services offered by the industry means consumers can be easily confused about product offerings. Almost every New Zealander uses a mobile or fixed-line phone and broadband, so the telecommunications sector has the potential to have a significant impact on consumers," said Commissioner Anna Rawlings.
A spokeswoman for Vodafone said the company had co-operated with the Commission throughout the process.
"We have taken on board the Commission's concerns and know it's important for us to communicate as clearly and fairly as possible," she said.
A spokeswoman for Spark said the company felt their advertising about Vodafone's 2G network was "reasonable based on earlier news reports about Vodafone," but the company "accepts the Commission's decision."
A spokeswoman for 2degrees said the telco had its promotion in the market when the Commission took action against another broadband provider.
"This prompted us to proactively contact the Commerce Commission as well as review and change our advertising," she said.
"It's really important to 2degrees that we do right by our customers and make things as clear as possible."
MyRepublic have been contacted for comment but have not yet responded.