Telstra was penalised for overcharging its customers, after a second investigation by Australia’s communications watchdog found it failed to comply with an order issued in 2020 to meet billing accuracy obligations.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) fined Telstra more than AUD500,000 ($356,983) and ordered it to refund AUD1.7 million to 11,600 customers.

ACMA noted 4,400 of those overcharged received incorrect bills after it issued an order in November 2020 for Telstra to improve it processes.

An AMCA investigation had found Telstra overcharged more than 10,000 customers almost AUD2.5 million over a 12-year period.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin stated an infringement notice was issued for not complying with the previous requirement.

She added Telstra’s position in Australia led her to “expect it’s billing systems to be more sophisticated and compliant with industry-wide consumer protection rules”.

Telstra began making refunds after self-reporting the overcharging following discovery of billing errors, which it attributed to problems with internal systems.

AMCA has an option to take future breaches to federal court.

In December 2021, ACMA fined Telstra AUD2.5 million for repeatedly breaching consumer privacy and safety rules.