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ACMA orders Optus and TPG to refund AU$6.5m for under-delivering internet speeds

More than 38,000 customers were being charged for internet speeds they could not get.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has confirmed Optus and TPG have collectively refunded more than AU$6.5 million after failing to alert customers that the maximum speed advertised in their internet plan was unattainable on the NBN infrastructure at their premises.

"Optus and TPG were charging these people for internet speeds they could not get," ACMA chair O'Loughlin said

"These customers were left in the dark and denied the option to move to a cheaper contract or walk away."

Under ACMA rules, telcos must verify maximum internet speeds when migrating customers to the NBN and notify them when speeds cannot meet those that were originally advertised to them.

According to the ACMA, Optus admitted in July last year that over a period of two years, it kept more than 34,000 users on the same internet plan and TPG similarly fessed up in October for doing the same thing to more than 4,400 of its customers.

As a result of the breaches, the ACMA has issued Optus with remedial direction, while TPG has offered a court-enforceable undertaking, which the ACMA has accepted. Both have been ordered to commission an independent audit of their relevant compliance systems and implement systems and governance process to ensure future compliance.

Refunds have also been offered to customers, with Optus handing back more than AU$4.4 million and TPG more than AU$2.1 million.

If either Optus or TPG fail to meet the requirements of their respective remedial direction and enforceable undertaking, the ACMA can commence proceedings in the federal court.

In June last year, the ACMA handed Telstra with a remedial direction for similar issues.

"The scale of service failure by these companies is significant. Our actions will ensure the top three telcos are more vigilant delivering the internet service their customers expect and have paid for," O'Loughlin said.

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