Optus overcharged customers $9 million

By Andrew Collins
Tuesday, 01 April, 2014

Optus overcharged customers $9 million

ACMA has issued a formal warning to Optus after an investigation found the telco inaccurately billed customers almost $9 million.

ACMA's investigation found that between 23 November 2008 and 30 September 2012, Optus failed to accurately bill some customers in respect of its SurePage and SpinVox services.

"In September 2013 Optus contacted the ACMA to advise that it had identified a serious billing discrepancy with two of its ancillary messaging options for post-paid services, SurePage and SpinVox," an ACMA report on the investigation said.

"Optus originally advised that the services impacted by the SurePage billing incident were activated during the period 1 July 2011 to 30 September 2012. During this period, Optus advises that it overcharged approximately 235,000 customers (approximately 258,000 services) a total amount of approximately $8.9 million.

"However, Optus subsequently advised the ACMA that the software coding issue that caused the overbilling of SurePage and SpinVox services was implemented in November 2008, almost 3 years earlier than originally thought. Optus has identified an additional 2600 customers that were overcharged during this initial period."

The media authority determined that Optus failed to identify and fix the root cause of the billing inaccuracy "as soon as practicable".

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code requires service providers to "demonstrate and verify billing accuracy" and "identify and address systemic problems as soon as practicable".

ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said, "We are now confident that Optus has rectified the billing inaccuracy and is reimbursing with interest all affected customers.

"I want to note Optus’s constructive engagement with the ACMA's investigation," Chapman said.

Pictured: ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman

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