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New Zealand Operator Spark has breached the country’s fair trading act and is now subject to a NZD 765,000 (USD 45,536) fine.

 The operator was found guilty in November 2018 for making false claims in customer bills by the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC).

Spark mentioned in a statement that the billing issue was due to a 30-day notice period for customers who were leaving their services as well as adding on an incorrect amount of credit for customers signing up for their fibre broadband service which occurred between 2014 and 2017.

A judge decided that the billing incident should be settled with commercial penalties but accepted the fibre credit issue as an actual error of omission.

As well as the fine, NZCC issued Spark with a warning pertaining to the operator’s failure to comply with the addition of an NZD300 as welcome credit onto the accounts of eligible customers.

According to NZCC commissioner, Anna Rawlings, this billing issue meant that around 72,000 customers overpaid their bills by a cumulative total of NZD 6.6 million.

“It is vital businesses clearly disclose the terms of any offers made when marketing their products,” said Rawling.

Spark has stated that it would cooperate with the commission on their mistakes which they claimed to have been claimed to harbor no malicious intent. Spark stated that it “sincerely regrets the impacts on customers and has taken all practicable steps to refund those customers who were billed incorrectly or did not receive their welcome credit.”

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