New Zealand Law Society - Stuff Fibre warned for ‘fastest internet’ claim

Stuff Fibre warned for ‘fastest internet’ claim

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The Commerce Commission has issued a warning to NZ Fibre Communications Ltd (Stuff Fibre) for making unsubstantiated claims that it is “Probably NZ’s Fastest Internet.”

The Commission’s investigation found Stuff Fibre was likely to have breached the Fair Trading Act because it did not have reasonable grounds for making the claim. Stuff Fibre had not done any broadband speed comparisons with competitors and admitted it did not know if its broadband services were actually faster than its competitors.

The Commission felt the caveat “probably” was not effective to prevent customers from being misled.

Commissioner Anna Rawlings said consumers who saw the claim were likely to think it meant Stuff Fibre’s broadband was faster than other broadband providers.

“The internet speed claim is a matter of scientific fact that consumers would expect to be known and verified. If a trader is prepared to say it is “probably the fastest”, this will suggest to consumers that they have done their research and are comfortable they are performing at that level. In fact, Stuff Fibre had not verified its claim.”

In September heat pump supplier Fujitsu General New Zealand Ltd was the first company convicted and fined under the unsubstantiated representations provision of the Fair Trading Act. Two months later solar panel systems retailer New Zealand Home Services Ltd (NZHS) was warned over the claims it made about the financial benefits of its solar panel installations. In 2015 the Commission issued a warning to Baa Baa Beads after it failed to substantiate its claims about the therapeutic benefits of its Baltic amber products, including those promoted for treating teething babies.

A copy of the Stuff Fibre warning can be found on our Enforcement Response Register.