Telstra, Optus, TPG pay $33.5m for false or misleading representations

T

Three leading Australian telcos have been ordered by the Federal Court $33.5 million after each admitted to making false or misleading representations to consumers concerning internet plans.

In proceedings brought on by the consumer watchdog, Telstra, Optus, and TPG, were found to have breached Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading statements concerning their 50Mbps or 100Mbps fibre to the node (FTTN) internet plans.

Telstra was ordered to pay $15 million, Optus was ordered to pay $13.5 million, and TPG was ordered to pay $5 million in penalties.

“By making statements on their websites, in emails to consumers or in phone sales, Telstra, Optus and TPG each promised to tell consumers within a reasonable time frame if the speeds they were paying for could not be reached on their NBN connections,” a statement from the ACCC said.

“They each also said they would offer these consumers options, including to move to a cheaper plan with a refund, if they could not achieve the maximum speed on their plans.”

But Telstra, Optus, and TPG admitted those statements were false or misleading as they did not have adequate systems, processes and policies in place to ensure they would do what they said they would.

Telstra, Optus and TPG also admitted they failed to inform consumers whose maximum attainable speeds were lower than the speed of their purchased plan, falsely representing to those consumers that their NBN connections could attain higher speeds.

The false claims affected 120,000 consumers in total between the three providers and were made for at least 12 months in 2019 and 2020.

ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said Australians had the right to accurate information from internet providers.

“Fast and reliable internet is a necessity for Australian households, and consumers need accurate information when choosing the best internet plan to meet their needs,” she said. “These significant penalties reflect the seriousness of the breaches of consumer laws by these large and sophisticated businesses that should be better informed about their obligations towards their customers, particularly given the promises they made to their customers and in undertakings previously provided to the ACCC regarding speed claims for their NBN plans in 2017.”

She said, in effect, customers in some cases may have been better off opting for lower speeds – although that was never made known to them.

“Some customers may have paid for a 50 or 100 Mbps plan believing their NBN connection could support the higher download speeds, even though they would have been better off paying for a lower speed plan,” Ms Carver said.

“It is illegal for businesses to make false or misleading representations to consumers about the performance characteristics, nature, standard or quality of products and services.”

The telcos have since begun remediation and contacting customers impacted.

Optus was ordered to recontact affected customers who have yet to respond to the previous contact or be credited to offer compensation within 120 days.

The court ordered TPG to implement a consumer law compliance program while ordering Optus to update its existing program.

“Telstra already has Australian Consumer law compliance program obligations under a court-enforceable undertaking given to the ACCC after the ACCC’s action in relation to unconscionable conduct towards indigenous customers in 2020,” the statement said.

All three were ordered to pay part of the consumer watchdog’s legal costs.

Telstra and Optus have previously faced legal action over other false and misleading statements, with Optus being penalised a total of $17.9 million over three cases – once in 2018 and twice in 2019.

Originally published as ‘Misleading’: Telstra, Optus, TPG ordered to pay $33.5m


Source link
Lien puissant
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link
best link

About the author

vQ50azj5tS

Add Comment

vQ50azj5tS

Get in touch

Quickly communicate covalent niche markets for maintainable sources. Collaboratively harness resource sucking experiences whereas cost effective meta-services.