Australia’s competition regulator took Optus to court for misleading some of its internet customers about the need to move quickly to the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it started proceedings in Federal Court against Optus’ internet unit, alleging that between October 2015 and March 2017 the operator made false and misleading claims by advising customers it would disconnect their existing service within a specified time period as the NBN was coming to their area.
ACCC said the time frames were earlier than Optus was contractually allowed to cancel the customers’ services.
Commission chairman Rod Sims said: “We allege that Optus’ misrepresentations put pressure on customers to move to the NBN sooner than they were required to. This is particularly concerning as Optus received a significant financial payment from NBN Co for each customer that moved from its cable network to the NBN.”
Optus also created the impression its customers were required to obtain NBN services from Optus when they could have chosen to switch to any internet service provider, the agency said.
The court action comes after the ACCC last week pressured Optus to compensate about 8,700 customers for misleading them about the peak download speeds they could achieve over the NBN.
In November, the ACCC pushed market leader Telstra to compensate some customers over the same issue.
The NBN is a wholesale-only broadband access network being built and owned by NBN Co.