Six subsidiaries of Nine Entertainment Co (Nine) paid fines totaling $ 159,840 after ACCC issued them 12 notices of violation for allegedly charging subscribers and advertisers excessive payment surcharges.
The regulator announced Friday that Nine will also provide about $ 450,000 in repairs to eligible consumers for advertising, home delivery and digital subscription.
Details have been provided in this release:
the ACCC was concerned that as of December 2018, after the merger of Nine with Fairfax Media, most consumer and advertiser transactions processed by Nine in which a payment surcharge was applied involved an excessive payment surcharge.
Nine applied payment surcharges to digital subscription and home delivery services as well as to radio, publishing, television and digital advertising.
ACCC violation notices were issued regarding payments made using MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards between August and December 2020, which resulted in surcharges ranging from 0.9% to 1, 55%. The ACCC alleged that these surcharges exceeded the actual cost to Nine by 0.09 to 0.84 percent, depending on the method of payment.
“A payment surcharge is excessive and against the law if it exceeds the costs for the payment processing company,” said the vice president of ACCC. Mick keogh mentionned.
“While the average additional cost per consumer was relatively low, given the number of transactions processed by Nine, this was a significant amount. “
Approximately 220,000 current digital and home delivery subscribers who paid by MasterCard or Visa credit or debit card will receive a one-time cash adjustment of $ 1.92, which is the average overpayment surcharge paid by these consumers, or an extension of their subscription.
Nine will also contact affected advertising customers to advise them that they may have been overcharged and are eligible for refunds.
“This should remind businesses that the ACCC will continue to investigate complaints about companies imposing excessive payment surcharges,” Keogh said.
Nine has since changed its payment surcharges to comply with the RBA standard on excessive payment surcharges.
Notices of infringement were addressed to Fairfax Media Management Pty Ltd (regarding subscription services), Nine Radio Operations Pty Ltd (regarding radio advertising services), Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd (regarding publication of advertising) and NBN Pty Ltd, Nine Digital Pty Ltd and Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd (in relation to digital television and advertising services).