ACCC Accuses Telstra, Optus, and TPG for Allegedly Misleading Customers
Telstra and Optus are two of the biggest telecommunication companies and TPG is the second largest internet provider in Australia. The competitions regulator of Australia ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) accused these companies of allegedly misleading thousands of their customers regarding the NBN max speed.
ACCC Has Taken the Matter to Court
ACCC has taken separate actions against each corporation in the Federal court for promoting different NBN plans with misleading or false representations. The companies told some of their end-users that they’ll be notified if their connections are underperforming after the maximum speed test. Moreover, the companies also claimed that they’ll compensate the customers if the maximum speed is found to be lower than the stated one. However, all three companies failed to fulfil their claims for many customers.
Where the False Representations Were Made?
The companies made false or misleading representations in their emails to customers and on websites. Telstra and TPG did it from at least 1st April 2019 to 30th April 2020. Optus did the same from at least 1st January 2019 to 31st December 2019.
Responses from Companies
The officials from all the mentioned companies have also responded to the accusation.
Mr. Michael Ackland, the executive of small business and consumer of the Telstra Group said that the company was trying to improve its processes. He also said that the company is proactively working on managing this complicated and important issue.
Mr. Michael Ackland also accepted that the company certainly didn’t do some things in the right way. Moreover, the transparency of the internet speed is a complicated topic and the NBN Corporation has left it entirely to RSPs (Retail Service Providers). Telstra didn’t have enough information and tools to inform customers what to expect before connecting.
He also said that both RSPs and NBN Co didn’t know anything about the available speed that was available to the customers when they first connected. It was totally up to the RSPs to deal with the connection if it fell short of the claimed speed. That’s why Telstra is supporting the examination process by ACCC.
An official from Optus said that that company is considering and working on the matter at hand very carefully. Additionally, Optus will continue to perform the NBN speed measurements to accurately inform the end-users about the available connection speed. There are several issues that can greatly affect the speed including the quality and length of the copper line. The official also mentioned that it’s unfortunate that all the NBN connections deliver different speeds.
TPG also accepted that there are problems at the company’s end and apologies for that. Additionally, the company blamed two different factors for the event.
The first factor was the NBN’s failure to provide accurate and timely information regarding speed to the company. The second was about the anomalies present since 2017 in the internet legacy processes of the company.
No System to Test Speeds
ACCC says that none of the accused companies had any system in place to test the connection speeds. The chairman of the ACCC Mr Rod Sims said that the behaviour of the companies was very concerning. Telstra, TPG, and Optus promised that they will inform their customers if the speed for which they’re paying could be attained or not. Moreover, if customers can’t access the represented speed, then the companies promised to compensate them with a refund. But all three of these companies have failed to do so and many customers had to pay more for the services they weren’t receiving.
Mr Sims also mentioned that he is thoroughly disappointed in Telstra, Optus, and TPG as they didn’t do what they promised with customers as well as ACCC. That’s why ACCC lost the patient and had to take the matter to the court and it’s seeking high penalties.
Responsibility to Test Speeds
Mr. Sims also said that Telstra, Optus, and TPG are responsible for testing the connection speeds. They could do it to make sure the speeds they can offer after informing their customers. They undertook to do that but the fact of the matter is that they didn’t do it. He added that the lack of competition made these companies a bit too comfortable as they’re the dominant player in the Australian market.
Written by The Original PC Doctor on 28/08/2021.