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Vodafone To Refund Customers For Sneaky Sales

Vodafone will be forced to track down and refund customers who unwittingly purchased content such as ringtones and games using the telcos direct-carrier-billing services.

Vodafone used the DCB services from at least the start of 2013 up until March of last year.

The service was automatically enabled on Vodafone customer accounts, allowing third parties to sell to customers in as little as one or two clicks and resulting in customers making purchases they had not agreed to or didn’t even know about.

Vodafone received a commission for the sales, which would appear on the customers’ next bill.

Following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Vodafone has agreed to a court order that it contact customers who may have been affected to offer them refunds.

“Through this service, thousands of Vodafone customers ended up being charged for content that they did not want or need, and were completely unaware that they had purchased,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.

Vodafone began phasing out the investigated DCB service in mid-2015 following an increase in complaints, but it wasn’t fully discontinued until March 2018.

It has been replaced by a DCB service that requires express customer agreement.

The ACCC has previously taken action against Telstra and Optus for their DCB services.

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