ACCC takes Optus to court over misleading conduct


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 02 July, 2019


ACCC takes Optus to court over misleading conduct

The ACCC has taken Optus to court once again over alleged misleading conduct relating to customer communications about the need to migrate to the nbn.

The regulator is accusing Optus of sending notices to just under 139,000 of its mobile customers advising them that their current broadband service would be “disconnected very soon” and offering its own nbn broadband services — despite knowing that those customers were receiving nbn services already from a different provider.

Due to the knowledge that the customers were already receiving nbn services, Optus had no reasonable basis for asserting that they were facing disconnection, the ACCC has alleged.

Most of the customers that had received the marketing material had already moved to nbn-based services, and Optus had in fact prepared a different marketing campaign for mobile customers who were actually facing imminent disconnection.

In a statement, Optus admitted to sending misleading marketing material to the affected customers, but insisted that this was a mistake. Optus said it has apologised to customers and offered a costless exit on their contracts to any customer who took the offer.

But ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said it is disheartening that the regulator has found itself taking Optus to court yet again.

“The ACCC has had to take action about Optus’s advertising on several previous occasions, and it is concerning that we are again having to take them to court for alleged misleading statements about this issue,” she said.

“We are keeping a close eye on this sector and we will continue to take enforcement action where appropriate.”

In May last year, Optus was ordered to pay penalties of $1.5 million over making misleading representations in their rush to migrate customers from its hybrid fibre coaxial network to the nbn so it can fast-track migration payments from NBN Co.

The ACCC also took action against Optus twice in 2017 over misleading advertising of its broadband plans, with Optus agreeing to compensate customers in both cases.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Robinpd

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