ACCC takes Telstra, Optus, TPG to court


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 10 August, 2021

ACCC takes Telstra, Optus, TPG to court

The ACCC has commenced legal proceedings against Telstra, Optus and TPG, accusing the operators of charging “hundreds of thousands” of NBN customers for speeds their infrastructure was incapable of providing.

The regulator will allege that the three operators made representations to some FTTN customers that they would test the maximum speed of their connections, notify the impacted consumer of their maximum speed and offer remedies if this was below their plan’s stated speed.

“Telstra, Optus and TPG each promised to tell consumers within a specific or reasonable timeframe if the speed they were paying for could not be reached on their connection,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“They also promised to offer them a cheaper plan with a refund if that was the case. Instead, we allege, they failed to do these things, and as a result many consumers paid more for their NBN plans than they needed to.”

Sims alleged that between the three operators, “hundreds of thousands of consumers” were misled during at least a one-year period.

“What makes this behaviour even more concerning is that Telstra, Optus and TPG were well aware of these issues and had earlier given undertakings to the ACCC to provide remedies to consumers who purchased NBN plans with speeds that couldn’t be delivered,” he said.

The allegedly misleading statements were made on the companies’ websites and in emails to consumers from at least 1 April 2019 to 30 April 2020 by Telstra and TPG, and at least 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019 by Optus, according to the ACCC.

The regulator will be seeking court orders ranging from declarations, injunctions and pecuniary penalties to publication orders and the implementation of compliance programs.

All three companies have committed to offering remedies to affected customers that could include a refund, an offer to switch to an alternative plan and the opportunity to leave a contract without penalty.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/rcfotostock

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