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Telco ordered to pay up after making misleading claims

The Federal Court has ordered Optus  to pay $6.4 million in penalties for making misleading claims about home internet disconnections to consumers, following proceedings brought by the ACCC.

On 24 May 2018, Optus emailed 138,988 of its own mobile customers claiming their existing home broadband services, provided by Optus’ competitors, would be ‘disconnected very soon’. The email encouraged the customers to change to Optus NBN Broadband, telling them to ‘make the switch, before it's too late’.

The Federal Court found that this statement was misleading or deceptive because the customers who received the email were not facing immediate disconnection of their existing broadband services.

“As the NBN rollout nears completion, consumers around Australia are making decisions about whether and when to move onto the NBN, and what services are best for them,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“The industry should be helping consumers during this process, not providing them with misleading information. We are continuing to watch this area closely.

“We took this case against Optus because we were concerned its emails created a false sense of urgency for consumers and may have discouraged them from shopping around for the best deal available,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC instituted proceedings against Optus on 24 June 2019. This is the second time in two years that the Federal Court has ordered Optus to pay significant penalties for misleading consumers about the need to acquire NBN services following ACCC action.

“We are concerned about Optus’ recent track record in misleading consumers about the NBN. We expect that this $6.4 million penalty will serve as a warning to Optus and other telcos that they must not mislead consumers about their choices when the NBN is being rolled out,” Mr Sims said.

3 comments

I  get at least 4 calls from an unknown person saying my phone line will be disabled if I don't get in touch with them. I usually hang up. I did go to the Telstra office and they said they never phone customers stating the case. They always write. 

I just got another call from someone who says, "Your internet connection has been hacked from multiple sights, please press 1 to speak to a technician". Of course I hung up, yet again. Why are these people ringing us all the time?

I seem to get three or four of those calls a week, Hola, unfortunately they are recordings so I can’t say mean things to them.

Hi Hola.  I just googled your complaint.  Other Aussies are getting similar calls and they say they are just scams. See here: https://crowdsupport.telstra.com.au/t5/Home-Broadband/Phone-call-from-woman-saying-our-Internet-will-be-disconnected/td-p/172042/page/3

The best thing to do when you answer the phone is to just pick it up and listen without saying anything. Don't even say hello.  If you just stay perfectly silent, often that way they hang up first and you don't get the callbacks. Meanwhile it gives you time to work out if it is a genuine call for you or someone you know - your friends will understand. If it sounds like its coming from a foreign call centre it probably is.  

RE: why they ring, it's because a small percentage of people are gullible enough to make it profitable for them.  By not being gullible you are making it harder for them.

RE: Telstra, they usually only disconnect you if you owe them money for weeks on end.  Telstra are a business - and it's not financially sensible for them to disconnect their customers.  

Re: the internet  connection being hacked - get a programme like Malwarebytes or Kaspersky if you don't have one already

Thanks Triss and aussiecarer for your input. I've worked it out now, I don't answer and they hang up.

I am on the DO NOT CALL LIST

and also have a Uniden phone on which I can block unwanted incoming calls.

Suze - I'm on the Do Not Call List as well and I made a complaint to Telstra and they said they don't have control on outside callers, whatever that means.? 

https://www.donotcall.gov.au/consumers/lodge-a-complaint/

is the link to the complaints section.... it is a Gov Dept.

We got a scam call today which actually left a message. First time that has happened. A new tactic maybe?

3 comments