Optus refunds mobile customers after promo fiasco

Following intervention from Australia's competition watchdog, Optus Mobile has agreed to refund customers who purchased a particular handset model in the month after a promotional offer ended. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it had investigated complaints about the availability of Nokia 7250 handsets during the AU$55-per-month promotion and found Optus Mobile did not have sufficient stock available during the promotion period in May last year.

Following intervention from Australia's competition watchdog, Optus Mobile has agreed to refund customers who purchased a particular handset model in the month after a promotional offer ended.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it had investigated complaints about the availability of Nokia 7250 handsets during the AU$55-per-month promotion and found Optus Mobile did not have sufficient stock available during the promotion period in May last year.

The ACCC ordered that Optus refund customers who paid more for the phone in the month after the promo ended and to re-offer the handset for the same price on a cheaper monthly plan for an additional month.

Optus has also given "court-enforceable undertakings" that it will implement a "raincheck" policy for all post paid Optus Mobile promotions in future. They will also be running corrective advertising campaign on television, in newspapers, in store and on the Optus Web site.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said consumers complained after they were unable to buy the handset soon after the promo began. He added that Optus "did not act quickly enough" in pulling out the advertisements for the promotion.

"After the promotion, consumers were offered the same phone at a much higher up-front cost on the AU$55 a month plan," he said.

Samuel said he welcomed Optus' cooperation in resolving the concerns and that "It also acts as a reminder to suppliers to ensure that they only advertise products when they have enough stock to meet expected demand.

An Optus spokesperson said they are in the process of identifying and contacting the customers to be reimbursed. She also said the promotion was far more popular than they anticipated thus the shortage of the handsets.

Optus will be creating a Handset Supply Panel to review its handset supply processes in the future.