ACCC Sues Telstra Over “Misleading” Belong Broadband Speeds

ACCC Sues Telstra Over “Misleading” Belong Broadband Speeds

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Telstra after the company allegedly misled customers over the broadband speeds they would receive using its cheaper Belong brand.

The ACCC said that in October and November 2020, Telstra migrated nearly 9000 who had been on a Belong NBN plan with a max download speed of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and a max upload speed of 40 Mbps to a service with a max upload speed of just 20 Mbps.

The ACCC alleged that Telstra failed to tell customers that their upload speeds would be halved and did not lower their fees — despite the new service costing Telstra $7 per month less.

“We allege 8,897 consumers who signed up to a Belong NBN plan between May 2017 and October 2020 were affected by this change and deprived of the opportunity to make an informed decision about their internet service,” ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said.

In March and April last year, Telstra acknowledged its failure to notify around 2,500 customers and gave them a one-off $90 credit.

“We allege that more than 6,300 Belong customers have still not been informed by Telstra that their plan has changed to a lower maximum upload speed, and that Telstra continues to represent to them that the Belong broadband service supplied to them has not been altered,” Ms Carver said.

“In these circumstances, we are seeking a Court order requiring Telstra to pay compensation to consumers who, we allege, did not get the service they signed up for.

“We expect a company of Telstra’s size and experience to take their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law very seriously, including those prohibiting misleading or deceptive conduct and false or misleading representations,” Ms Carver said.

The ACCC is seeking declarations, penalties, consumer redress, costs and other orders.

Telstra said that it was eager to resolve the issue but did not agree with the ACCC’s position. The company also noted that it had self-reported the issue in the first place.

“We don’t agree with the ACCC’s views on this issue and look forward to resolving it. When our communications with some of our customers have fallen short, we’ve let them know and made things right,” a Telstra spokesperson said.




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