One of Australia’s biggest telecommunication companies has been forced to compensate more than 40000 NBN customers, after admitting it misled about speeds it could deliver.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said yesterday that Telstra had agreed to offer compensation to about 42000 customers for promoting and offering some of its National Broadband Network speed plans as being capable of delivering specified maximum speeds, when those speeds could not be achieved.
The telco has admitted it may have engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
In its NBN advertising over a period of two years, Telstra said it could provide download speeds of up to 100megabits per second, and maximum upload speeds of 40mbps.
After investigating the claim, the ACCC chairman Rod Sims said that many customers were not receiving the high speeds they had paid for.
‘‘Our investigation revealed many of Telstra’s FTTN and FTTB customers could not receive the maximum speed of their plan. Even worse, many of these customers could not receive the maximum speed of a lower-speed plan,’’ Mr Sims said.
‘‘In essence, people were paying more to get higher speeds that they just weren’t able to get.’’
Telstra came forward to the watchdog and has provided a court-enforceable undertaking detailing the remedies it will provide to affected customers, including refunds, the option to change speed plans, and exit from contracts without paying a fee.
The ACCC said it would continue to investigate other retail service providers selling broadband plans over the NBN and take enforcement action where appropriate.
Mr Sims said there were many situations in which the connection was not capable of delivering the speed it had been sold as, and a second issue was where speeds can technically be delivered, but the internet service provider has not purchased enough capacity from NBN to provide the speeds.