The Federal Court of Australia has fined Canberra-based internet service provider (ISP) Bytecard and its director Brian Morris over failing to refund customers who had complained to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) between 2006 and 2011.
Bytecard, which trades as Netspeed Internet Communications and Leading Edge Internet, had failed to refund or waive the debt of five customers as directed by the TIO. The funds were eventually refunded when the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) took the company to court last year.
In Federal Court today, Justice Lindsay Foster fined Bytecard AU$75,000 and its director Brian Morris AU$37,500 for failing to comply with the TIO scheme, and ordered the company to implement a compliance program. Morris was also ordered to attend a compliance seminar.
"The provision of telecommunications services is a very important feature of modern society. There are many organisations involved in the provision of those services at various levels. The need for those organisations which deal directly with the public to behave in a manner which complies with relevant statutory provisions, the terms of their contracts, and appropriate professional standards is obvious," Foster said in his judgment.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said that the decision reinforced that compliance with the TIO scheme is non-negotiable.