Weeks After $50M Fine Telstra Slammed For Dodgy NBN Practices
Telstra is at it again, weeks after the Federal Court ordered that Telstra pay $50 million in penalties for engaging in unconscionable conduct the big carrier has been singled out for failing to tell customers their NBN package was not fit for purpose and would not hit the speeds the package was supposed to.
More than 50,000 Telstra customers were affected after it was revealed that Telstra sold packages that could not achieve the maximum speeds advertised in their internet plan with the NBN infrastructure available to them.
Under rules issued by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, telcos must verify maximum internet speeds and tell customers when they cannot attain advertised speeds.
In these circumstances, customers are entitled to move to a lower speed tier plan at a lower price or exit the contract without cost.
ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin has now revealed that an investigation by the communication body found that between September 2018 and October last year, Telstra failed to notify up to 49,092 affected customers of their underperforming internet speeds and plan options.
The carrier who has a history of questionable marketing activities and poor service has been issued with remedial directions notice that requires to immediately initiate an independent audit of the systems it has in place to notify customers of their maximum attainable speeds.
About $25m in refunds is expected to be paid out by the carrier who is struggling to grow their broadband and mobile business despite claims they are the “Biggest 5G” provider.
“The ACMA is very concerned with this conduct as these customers have been paying for a level of service they were not receiving,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
“Telstra denied these customers the opportunity to downgrade their plan or exit their contract.”
Telstra also breached rules that do not allow a telco to charge for an NBN service unless 10 working days have passed since customers were advised of their options and they have not taken up an available remedy.
Telstra must also introduce a range of systems, processes and reporting to assure future compliance with the ACMA rules.
“We will take a very close look at the results of the independent audit to make sure we are satisfied that the action Telstra has taken will adequately address the flaws that led to the problems,” Ms O’Loughlin said.