The Federal Court has ordered Optus to pay $6.4 million in penalties for making misleading claims about home internet disconnections to customers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took the telco to court in June 2019, alleging that Optus urged customers to move to the NBN or risk being disconnected.
This is the second time that Optus has been fined for the same offence, after the Federal Court ordered the telco to pay $1.5 million in May 2018.
“We are concerned about Optus’ recent track record in misleading consumers about the NBN,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“We expect that this $6.4 million penalty will serve as a warning to Optus and other telcos that they must not mislead consumers about their choices when the NBN is being rolled out.”
Optus emailed 138,988 mobile customers notifying them that their existing home broadband services from rival telcos would be ‘disconnected very soon’, and urged them to change to Optus’s NBN products.
Sims said the ACCC took Optus to court because it was concerned the emails “created a false sense of urgency for consumers and may have discouraged them from shopping around for the best deal available”.
“As the NBN rollout nears completion, consumers around Australia are making decisions about whether and when to move onto the NBN, and what services are best for them,” Sims said.
“The industry should be helping consumers during this process, not providing them with misleading information. We are continuing to watch this area closely.”