Telstra has been forced to refund customers more than $9 million after it was found the telecommunications company had charged Australians for content they had not bought.
The content, including games, ringtones and videos, was unknowingly paid for by more than 72,000 customers, who will now be compensated.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Telstra users were signed up to third-party providers and charged subscription fees without any prompt or confirmations.
Telstra was able to share customers’ banking and personal details with third party companies via its “Premium Direct Billing” (PDB) feature.
The PDB, which launched in 2013, was closed down in March this year.
Speaking on Telstra’s forced refunds, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “We are pleased to see so many customers refunded by Telstra, it’s clear a large number were charged for content like ringtones and wallpapers that they did not want, did not use, and had difficulty unsubscribing from.
“This should serve as a warning to all telecommunication providers that misleading and deceiving customers will result in serious consequences.”
He added: “The ACCC is also conducting a detailed investigation into the third party billing services of other carriers and further enforcement action may well follow.”