Just two days after fining Optus for misleading customers about needing to transition to the NBN, watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has sued the telco for doing it again.
The ACCC claims on May 24th 2018 Optus sent an email advertising NBN broadband services to 139,000 of its mobile customers, telling them that their broadband service would be “disconnected very soon” and to “make the switch, before it’s too late.”
The watchdog claims those messages were false or misleading as Optus knew when the emails were sent that the recipients were already serviced by a different NBN supplier, and that Optus had no reasonable basis to assert that their services would be disconnected.
Just two days before the emails were sent, the Federal Court fined Optus $1.5 million for making misleading representations to customers about transitioning from Optus’s HFC network to the NBN.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, compliance orders and costs.
“Moving to the NBN is an important decision for consumers, and it can also be a confusing process,” said ACCC commissioner Sarah Court.
“The ACCC has had to take action about Optus’ advertising on several previous occasions, and it is concerning that we are again having to take them to court for alleged misleading statements about this issue
“We are keeping a close eye on this sector and we will continue to take enforcement action where appropriate.”
Update 27 June 4:15pm: Optus issued a statement regarding the court action:
"Optus acknowledges the ACCC’s action today and its mistake, Optus has apologised to customers who received the mistaken communication and offered a costless exit for those who took out the offer," Optus vice president of regulatory and public affairs Andrew Sheridan said.
"In October 2018, Optus committed to improving customer experience and customer service across our business and we continue to devote significant energy and resources to address issues like this and make the necessary changes and improvements so we can deliver great service to all our customers."