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One Big Switch in hot water with ACCC

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Consumer group One Big Switch, an action group whose promotion of insurance discounts raised questions, has fallen foul of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for claims about electricity savings.

Revtech Media, the company behind the website, has paid penalties of $25,200 after the ACCC issued two infringement notices for alleged false and misleading energy price representations.

One Big Switch advertised a 27% discount for consumers in southeast Queensland if they registered with the website and switched to a Click Energy offer.

But ACCC Chairman Rod Sims says the calculation used was based on rates that were higher than Click Energy’s “standing” offer rates. Annual savings were also misleading and savings levels varied according to customers’ current arrangements.

“We allege that as a result of these claims, consumers were misled into assuming they were getting bigger discounts and savings than they would actually receive,” Mr Sims said.

One Big Switch was questioned by the insurance industry in 2014 when it said it had secured 40% savings on home and contents policies. The total discount included “an exclusive” 13% discount on top of other existing discounts.

It also came under fire for operating without an Australian Financial Services Licence.

Revtech Media includes major publisher News Ltd among its owners. Its One Big Switch subsidiary claims to be the world's largest consumer network, with global membership of more than 1 million. The company now holds an AFSL.