Optus forced to pay out $1.5m for misleading NBN customers

Federal Court forces Optus to pay $1.5m for misleading NBN customers.

Optus forced to pay out $1.5m for misleading NBN customers

The Federal Court has ordered Optus to pay penalties of $1.5 million for misleading its customers during their transition to the NBN.

From October 2015 to March 2017, Optus told around 14,000 customers that their internet services would be disconnected if they did not move to the NBN, some within 30 days.

However, the terms of its contract actually gave Optus no right to force its customers to make the switch to the new national network.

On top of threats of disconnection, Optus also implied that its customers had to sign up to Optus NBN services, when, in actuality, they could have signed up with any internet provider offering the NBN.

This deception netted Optus around $750,000.

“Optus pressured customers by misrepresenting the time period in which services could be disconnected,” said Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims.

“Businesses should not make false representations which distort customers’ decision making.  This is particularly important when many Australians are moving to the NBN for the first time,” Mr Sims said.

“It is illegal for businesses to mislead their customers and create a false impression through their communications. Today’s penalty serves as a warning to all businesses that such behaviour will be met with ACCC action.”

Since the ACCC commenced proceedings against Optus in December 2017, the telco has paid $833,000 in compensation to customers who had their services disconnected and has complied with a Statement of Agreed Facts and Joint Penalty Submissions leading to this decision.

Were you forced to disconnect your existing internet service and sign up to the NBN? Was it with Optus? Were you aware that you can sign up with any provider offering the NBN?

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    COMMENTS

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    tisme
    24th May 2018
    11:11am
    that's what they told us
    maelcolium
    24th May 2018
    11:51am
    A pity the ACCC were not as vigilant with the Banks and other Financial Institutions and we wouldn't be in this mess. The fines need to be revised though as 1.5 million to Optus is chicken feed.
    Joy Anne
    24th May 2018
    12:09pm
    WELL I HAVE BEEN AN OPTUS CUSTOMER FOR 9 YEARS AND THEY HAVE NEVER TOLD ME.
    WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH.
    Anonymous
    24th May 2018
    1:13pm
    That's because they're incompetent.
    Old Man
    24th May 2018
    12:19pm
    I'm taking bets on how long it will take MICK to blame the government on this.
    Anonymous
    24th May 2018
    1:13pm
    The government should be blamed for not instigating a Royal Commission into this industry.
    KSS
    24th May 2018
    12:50pm
    As far as I can see (and I have not read the actual case or the judgement) the main issue is telling customers they have to renew service with Optus and not mentioning the customer can go elsewhere.

    Because telling customers they have move to the NBN is NOT misleading customers at all. Once an area is connected to the NBN there is a 'grace period' of about 18 months for the people in that area to change to an NBN provider before the old system is switched off. You have NO CHOICE but to accept NBN or lose internet/phone access.

    The only choice you have is which service provider to use. And that seems to ne the real issue with Optus in that they lead people to believe they had no choice but to stay with Optus and with immediate transfer to a new (higher cost) contract.
    Anonymous
    24th May 2018
    1:15pm
    You can use home wireless broadband for your internet and a mobile phone.

    24th May 2018
    1:11pm
    Optus are a bunch of cowboys: incompetent nincompoops. However, other telcos - such as Vodafone - are worse. The sooner there's a Royal Commission into the entire telecommunications industry, the better for Australia.

    24th May 2018
    1:22pm
    I'm with Optus for just the last two years, theyre not fantastic but we were with Telstra and they were a nightmare and anyone would look OK compared to them. If you wanted to see what I mean do the Internet search , I hate Telstra.
    Polly Esther
    24th May 2018
    1:59pm
    It seems to me that the majority of 'Telcos' are all in the same boat with nobody paddling. Pity it won't sink :-))
    buby
    25th May 2018
    5:30pm
    oh I THOUGHT THAT TOO BUT I TELL YA WHAT I'VE HAD MY INTERNET WITH TPG, FOR YEARS AND YEARS, AND THEY HAVE BEEN GREAT. I TRIED OPTUS, THEY SUCKED I TRIED USING OPTUS FOR MY MOBILE AND FOUND THEY WERE RIPPING ME OFF. AND I NOT GOING BACK TO TELSTRA CAUSE THEY STILL RIPPING ME OFF, AS I ONLY HAVE THE HOME PHONE WITH THEM. IF I COULD GET RID OF THEM I'D BE HAPPIER STILL, BUT HOW DO YOU USE THE INTERNET WITHOUT CUT YOUR LINE OFF??
    Sundays
    24th May 2018
    2:02pm
    No, Optus didn’t tell us that. We chose to get the NBN early and the only issue was that Optus wanted to move us to a more expensive plan than the plan we were on. When we said we would go elsewhere they capitulated. Btw, the NBN is much faster than what we had before.
    shirboy
    24th May 2018
    3:56pm
    I applied early through Optus for the NBN & other than some early hiccoughs everything seems fine. I have been with Optus for about 17 years & twice they gave me free magazine subscriptions & a free iphone. I can't complain. I know lots of people that have trouble with Telstra with overcharging on accounts etc. I have NEVER had any problem with Optus.
    GeorgeM
    24th May 2018
    8:54pm
    What a pathetic fine? Wouldn't even be noticed by this Telco giant!
    All Optus customers must remember - they are dealing with a foreign (Singapore) owned company who does NOT give a damn for this country or it's customers,
    Anonymous
    25th May 2018
    9:28am
    As compared to Teslsta which is a locally owned company which doesn't give a damn for this country or its customers. Ok and Telstras service is disgusting.
    GeorgeM
    25th May 2018
    9:22pm
    Yeah, I suppose beggars can't be choosers.....after all, we live at the arse-end of the earth and who would want to do business here!
    Wstaton
    9th Jul 2018
    9:17pm
    One of the good things about the NBN is that Telstra is losing their monopoly.
    hmmm
    25th May 2018
    10:40am
    Jail those responsible, at least those who are in Australia, and stop dealing with those countries which don't hold their own responsible. Yes I know it's just pie in the sky.
    Wstaton
    9th Jul 2018
    9:12pm
    I am a bit puzzled here. When the NBN cabling is connected and NBN becomes live you lose your landline which means no phone or adsl.

    This means you have to sign up with a NBN supplier if you want a phone (which goes through the NBN cabling) you have to sign up with a NBN supplier.

    So what gives here. Optus were certainly wrong when they said that they could only sign up with them. But! to me they were right in saying they would lose landline and internet if they didn't.


    Tags: internet, money, nbn,

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