Optus will pay $1.5 million in penalties for pressuring customers to move to the national broadband network sooner than required and misleading some of them about NBN service options.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says Optus had benefited by about $750,000 as a result of the conduct, and was on Wednesday ordered by the Federal Court to pay penalties for making misleading representations to customers.
The ACCC launched proceedings against Optus last year, alleging the telco told about 14,000 of its customers that their services would be disconnected if they did not move to the NBN.
The cancellation period was shorter than that Optus contractually allowed to provide.
The ACCC also alleged that Optus misled some customers about their options by creating the impression that they were required to buy NBN services from the telco when they could have chosen any internet service provider.
The telco has admitted to providing some customers with insufficient notice of their NBN migration options and said it had been trying to move customers off its cable network to the NBN as soon as an area became serviceable.
“Optus has acknowledged this was wrong and should not have occurred,” the telco said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Optus has written to affected customers apologising for this error and offering compensation to customers that had been disconnected without sufficient notice.”
The company has revised its migration processes for cable customers and paid $833,000 in compensation to those affected.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the telco had pressured customers and acted illegally in creating a false impression through their communications.
“Today’s penalty serves as a warning to all businesses that such behaviour will be met with ACCC action,” Mr Sims said.