The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Optus Mobile Pty Limited agreeing to compensate customers following an investigation into concerns that Optus was providing less data than advertised to consumers.
The undertaking relates to three separate incidents in 2015 and 2016 where Optus decided to reduce some of the data, calls and/or texts inclusions offered with particular Prepaid products without telling affected customers.
“Customers who chose an Optus Prepaid plan based on its advertised value, but who activated or recharged their SIM card after Optus changed allowances for calls, text and data, received less than they were promised at the time they purchased the plan,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“Mobile providers must provide the ‘value’ and benefits they advertise. Optus Prepaid customers who may be entitled to a credit should visit the Optus website or the outlet where they bought the prepaid product.”
The conduct occurred as a result of changes Optus made to a number of its Prepaid inclusions for consumers who bought certain prepaid mobile broadband devices, prepaid mobile phones, or prepaid mobile plans.
In some cases Optus reduced the benefits that consumers received when they activated or recharged the SIM card provided with the products. Optus failed to ensure that these changes only applied to consumers who purchased the products after the change was introduced.
After discussions with the ACCC, Optus has agreed to credit affected customers with an amount of data, calls and/or texts equivalent to the amount each consumer missed out on. Affected customers will have their accounts credited where this is possible, or can otherwise claim a refund.
“Businesses must act swiftly to offer consumer redress and meet their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law or face action from the ACCC,” Ms Court said.
Notes to editors
The promotions concerned broadband modems, ‘2 days on us’ bundled with a range of phones and the prepaid phone plans ‘My Prepaid Daily Plus’, ‘My Prepaid Monthly’ and ‘My Prepaid Monthly Plus’.
For example, until 31 August 2015, Optus advertised a promotion where consumers would be entitled to 5GB data valid for 30 days when they bought Huawei E5331 WiFi modem. From 15 October 2015, Optus advertised a new promotion for the same modem where consumers only received 2GB of data valid for 14 days. However a consumer who bought the modem before 31 August 2015, but did not activate the SIM card provided with the device until after 15 October 2015 received 3 GB fewer data valid for less than half the period advertised.
The undertaking also requires Optus to improve the measures it takes to ensure compliance with the Australian Consumer Law.
The undertaking is available on the public register.