ACCC Takes Telstra, Optus And TPG To Court For Misleading Customers About NBN Speeds

ACCC Takes Telstra, Optus And TPG To Court For Misleading Customers About NBN Speeds

The ACCC has accused Telstra, Optus and TPG of misleading consumers about NBN speeds.

In an announcement on Monday, the competition watchdog revealed it had initiated separate proceedings in the Federal Court against each of the telcos for their promotion of 50Mbps and 100Mbps NBN plans.

According to the ACCC, the telcos failed to notify consumers when the agreed upon speeds were not being reached.

“Telstra, Optus and TPG each promised to tell consumers within a specific or reasonable timeframe if the speed they were paying for could not be reached on their connection. They also promised to offer them a cheaper plan with a refund if that was the case. Instead, we allege, they failed to do these things, and as a result many consumers paid more for their NBN plans than they needed to,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“Collectively, hundreds of thousands of consumers were allegedly misled by these three big internet providers, Telstra, Optus and TPG, which accepted payments for NBN speeds they could not provide.”

“What makes this behaviour even more concerning is that Telstra, Optus and TPG were well aware of these issues and had earlier given undertakings to the ACCC to provide remedies to consumers who purchased NBN plans with speeds that couldn’t be delivered.”

The ACCC pointed to statements made on the companies’ websites from at least 1 April 2019 to 30 April 2020 by Telstra and TPG, and at least 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019 by Optus.

Telstra and Optus both said they would test speeds and provide options to change plans if the stated speeds were not being reached.

TPG told consumers it would notify them of their line speeds three weeks after activation, and provide them with “the option to move to a lower speed plan (if available) or to change providers without contract break fees”.

According to the ACCC, these telcos did not have the systems in place to conduct these speed tests.

It comes after Telstra self-reported the conduct to the ACCC.

“Internet speed is one of the main features consumers look for when choosing their NBN plan, but it can be complex, confusing and time-consuming for them to understand the features of advertised NBN services and they cannot check their maximum speed themselves,” Sims said.

“It is important that internet providers like Telstra, Optus and TPG give their customers accurate information so they can make an informed choice about the service that best suits their needs and budget.”

Before the cases even reach court, Telstra, Optus and TPG have all promised to compensate impacted customers

Speaking to ABC News, Telstra group executive consumer and small business Michael Ackland apologised for the matter.

“First and foremost, we are very sorry to have let these customers down,” Mr Ackland said.

“We’re already taking steps to make sure customers are offered remedies and our processes are improved.

Optus told the ABC that speeds can be impacted by a number of factors.

“The speed that is achievable on some NBN connections can be impacted by issues including the length and quality of the copper line that connects a customer to the NBN,” she said.

“Unfortunately, not all NBN connections can deliver the same speeds.”

TPG told Finder it will be providing customers with options.

“We will be contacting the impacted TPG Internet customers and will offer them the option to move down a plan and receive a refund, leave and receive a refund, or stay on their current plan.”


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