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Dodo, iPrimus, Commander latest to compensate 5,800 NBN customers

Another 5,861 customers will be compensated for not receiving the NBN speeds they were paying for across Vocus' Dodo, iPrimus, and Commander brands.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Vocus-owned Dodo, iPrimus, and Commander have become the latest in the string of National Broadband Network (NBN) retailers asked to compensate customers for not providing them with the speeds they were paying for between October 2015 and June 2017.

In total, 1,912 iPrimus customers, 3,384 Dodo customers, and 565 Commander customers will be offered remedies, including moving to a lower-speed plan with a refund, or exiting their plan with a refund and no fees.

During this time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said iPrimus advertised its highest-tier plan as "Download speed: Up to 100Mbps. Upload speed: Up to 40Mbps. 100/40Mbps is as fast as you can get and will surely feed your need for speed".

"Dodo, iPrimus, and Commander have admitted that by offering speed plans that could not be delivered, they likely breached consumer law by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations," ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said on Friday.

iPrimus' undertaking [PDF] shows 904 of its 100/40Mbps fibre-to-the-node (FttN) customers unable to hit those speeds; 396 of these unable to reach 50/20Mbps; 79 unable to attain 25/5Mbps; and eight unable to reach even 12/1Mbps.

From its 25/5Mbps FttN customers, 901 could not reach those speeds and 115 could not reach 12/1Mbps; and of its 12/1Mbps FttN customers, 92 could not reach those speeds.

Of iPrimus' fibre-to-the-basement (FttB) customers on the 100/40Mbps speed tier, 14 could not reach those speeds; and one of its 25/5Mbps customers could not even reach 12/1Mbps.

Dodo's undertaking [PDF], meanwhile, shows a total of 70 percent or 2,436 of 100/40Mbps FttN customers unable to attain these speeds, with 1,037 of these also unable to reach 50/20Mbps, 205 unable to reach 25/5Mbps, and 26 unable to reach 12/1Mbps.

Of its four customers paying for 50/20Mbps tier, two were unable to reach this maximum; 504 of its customers paying for 25/5Mbps could not hit these speeds, with 61 of those customers also unable to hit 12/1Mbps; and 408 of its customers paying for 12/1Mbps could not attain those speeds.

Across Dodo's FttB customers, 29 customers or 19 percent could not reach 100/40Mbps despite paying for those speeds; three of its 25/5Mbps customers could not reach those speeds; and two of its 12/1Mbps customers could not reach that.

Finally, M2 Commander's undertaking [PDF] shows that 283 of its 100/40Mbps FttN customers could not reach those speeds; 104 of these could not reach 50/20Mbps; 20 of these could not reach 25/5Mbps; and three of these could not reach 12/1Mbps.

Also across its FttN customer base, 116 of its 50/20Mbps customers could not reach those speeds, 31 of these could not reach 25/5Mbps; and seven of these could reach 12/1Mbps. On its 25/5Mbps speed tier, 143 customers could not reach those speeds and 35 could not hit 12/1Mbps; and on its 12/1Mbps speed tier, three customers could not even reach those speeds.

Commander's FttB customers were less affected, with only 19 customers on the 100/40Mbps tier unable to hit those speeds, one of which could not even reach 12/1Mbps; and one of its 25/5Mbps customers unable to hit 12/1Mbps.

Customers will be contacted by April 27 and told what their maximum speed is, as well as what their compensation options are.

"The ACCC has now accepted undertakings from eight internet service providers, who have all admitted they likely misled customers about internet speeds," Court said.

"As a result of these undertakings, more than 75,000 affected consumers are being contacted by their internet service provider and offered remedies. New customers will also now be told if they are not getting the maximum internet speeds they were promised."

The ACCC's latest undertakings follow iiNet and Internode earlier this week being forced to compensate their NBN customers.

In total, around 8,000 iiNet customers and 3,000 Internode customers were affected between 2015 and 2017. Internode and iiNet are both owned by TPG, which was itself forced by the ACCC to refund 8,000 NBN customers in December.

This followed Optus entering a court-enforceable undertaking to refund thousands of FttN and FttB customers who were sold speeds not technically possible on their NBN connection; and Telstra having to refund around 42,000 customers for the same issue.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims last month said the consumer watchdog had labelled broadband consumer issues as a major focus for 2018, warning NBN retailers that it would continue stepping in when they do not provide the speeds consumers are paying for.

"You have seen a number of ACCC enforcement actions in 2017, and can expect further interventions this year," Sims said.

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