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Optus Misled Customers Again, Penalised $6.4 Million

Optus has been ordered to pay $6.4 million in penalties following revelations that the telecommunications company has misled its customers, again.

As ordered by the Federal Court, Optus Internet Pty Limited and Optus Mobile Pty Limited (Optus) will pay $6.4 million, in what is now its second penalty in just two years for misleading consumers about switching to the NBN.

The proceedings brought forward by the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission (ACCC) on 24 June 2019 alleged Optus had misled consumers about their need to switch to the NBN or risk being disconnected.

Optus sent 138,988 mobile customers misleading emails advising them that their broadband service would be ‘disconnected very soon,’ encouraging them to ‘make the switch, before its too late’.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims hopes this second penalty will serve as a warning to not mislead consumers about their choices.

Optus was first fined in 2018 for misleading around 14,000 of its customers that their services would be disconnected if they did not move to the NBN, despite under the terms of its contract, Optus could not force disconnection within the timeframe it claimed

Following the investigation by the National Watchdog, Optus paid $833,000 in compensation to affected customers for the disconnection of their services, despite benefiting around $750,000 as a result of the conduct.

At the time, Sims made it clear that ‘businesses should not make false representations which distort customers’ decision making’.

Unfortunately, Sims has had to criticise Optus again for providing consumers with misleading information, saying that, ‘the industry should be helping consumers during this process’.

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