Media Release : New marketing code to combat telco ‘confusopoly’ “a step in the right direction” according to consumer body


Monday 8 November 2021

The Commerce Commission has instructed the telecommunications industry to develop a marketing code that ensures consumers receive all the information they need from telco providers to make informed choices about the technology options and plans that best suit their needs.

The decision by the Commission comes after a lengthy consultation with individual consumers and industry bodies, including TUANZ, which highlighted the use of deliberate confusion to onboard new, uninformed and unsuspecting customers. 

TUANZ CEO Craig Young says, “we are pleased to see the Commission provide comprehensive guidelines that they expect to be implemented by the industry in a short manner. We call on the industry to step up and meet the timeframes that are stated in the letter sent directly to the telecommunications forum, including the voluntary compliance by providers within the next 20 days.”

We have been deeply concerned about the tactics being used by retail service providers. Copper migration is being used as an excuse to move unsuspecting consumers to preferred services without their express consent, or the information they need to make an informed decision about the alternatives.” 

Telcos are notorious for using confusion to avoid competing on price, and the practice has a long history in New Zealand. According to Young, “the current product disclosure regime has serious weaknesses, so it is pleasing to see the Commission outlining new requirements around understanding, and clarity of the service performance of alternatives to their current service.” 


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