'Wi-Fi Ready' ruse snuffed out by ACCC

Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp, under pressure from the competition regulator, will stop marketing TVs and Blu-ray players that cannot connect to Wi-Fi networks as "Wi-Fi Ready".

The five leading vendors will amend their promotional material after concerns were raised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

While some "smart" televisions and Blu-ray players sold by the manufacturers can connect to wireless networks, others require an additional adaptor or dongle and are marketed as "Wi-Fi Ready" and "Wireless LAN ready".

The dongles cost an extra $100-$120. A consumer complained to the ACCC after taking their new TV home only to switch it on and see a message reading: "Wireless USB device not found. Insert a compatible wireless device into the TV's USB port and try again".

The ACCC visited retailers and ultimately sided with the consumer. Now the TV makers will be prevented from using those terms in their promotional material or website without clearly informing consumers about the need to purchase an additional Wi-Fi adaptor.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said consumers should now be confident that any claim of "Wi-Fi Ready" or "Wireless LAN Ready" means exactly that.

"The ACCC considered that the term 'Ready', when used in promoting audiovisual products,  is widely understood by consumers to mean the product is capable of accessing WiFi,  without the need to purchase any further device," Mr Sims said.

"Consumers should be able to trust that what's represented on promotional material is what they will actually get.

"This is particularly the case when the terms 'WiFi Ready' or 'Wireless LAN Ready' appeared to be used on audiovisual products offering in-built WiFi adaptors as well as on products which required an additional device or dongle."

Sony, Samsung and LG have been approached for comment and details of when their promotional material would be changed.

The story 'Wi-Fi Ready' ruse snuffed out by ACCC first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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