It has been announced in a recentthat the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Optus Internet Pty Ltd (Optus), alleging it misled customers about the need to move quickly from its existing Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) network to the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The Australian regulator claimed that Optus informed customers that since the NBN was coming into their area, existing internet plans on the HFC network would be disconnected sooner than what was contractually allowed.
In 2011, Optus and NBN Co entered into an agreement by which NBN Co agreed to make payments to Optus in respect of each customer who migrated from Optus’ existing HFC network to the NBN, whether the customer acquired NBN-based services from Optus or from another retail service provider.
The ACCC alleges that between October 2015 and March 2017, Optus made false and misleading representations by writing to its customers to advise it would disconnect their HFC service within a specified time period as the NBN was coming to their area.
However, the timeframes were earlier than Optus was contractually allowed to cancel the customers’ services, with Optus even telling customers their services would be disconnected in as little as 30 days.
It is also alleged that between October 2015 and September 2016, Optus misled some of its customers about their options for purchasing an NBN plan.
The ACCC alleges that:
Commenting to, the ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said:
Mr Sims said went on to say:
Responding to the allegations, an Optus spokesperson said the company was "working co-operatively" with the regulator:
In a separate action, Optus has also agreed to compensate more than 8,700 customers who were misled about the speed of their plans after Optus also admitted it is likely to have breached the Australian Consumer Law (the ACL) by providing speeds slower than what it advertised between September 2015 and June 2017.
According to the ACCC, the slower speeds were due to "technical limitations" on the customers' fibre to the node (FTTN) or fibre to the building (FTTB) NBN connections. Optus will contact its affected consumers by email or letter by 2 March 2018.
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Optus in court for allegedly misleading 20,000 customers about moving to the NBN –
ACCC takes Optus to court for allegedly misleading 20,000 customers –
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