Optus fined $6.4m over misleading NBN claims
Optus has been ordered to pay $6.4 million in penalties for misleading nearly 140,000 of its mobile customers over home internet disconnections.
The Federal Court issued the multi-million-dollar penalty following proceedings against Australia's second largest telco by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The ACCC said Optus emailed 138,988 of its mobile customers on 24 May last year claiming their existing home broadband services, provided by Optus' competitors, would be "disconnected very soon". The email encouraged the customers to switch to Optus NBN "before it's too late".
The court found the statement was misleading or deceptive because customers sent the email were not facing immediate disconnection of their existing internet services.
"We took this case against Optus because we were concerned its emails created a false sense of urgency for consumers and may have discouraged them from shopping around for the best deal available," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
Nine News has contacted Optus for comment on the ruling.
The ACCC took Optus to court in June this year. It's the second time in two years the telco has been ordered to pay significant penalties over misleading NBN claims.
In the last decade the commission has filed proceedings against Optus five times and has accepted five court enforceable undertakings from the telco.
"We are concerned about Optus' recent track record in misleading consumers about the NBN. We expect that this $6.4 million penalty will serve as a warning to Optus and other telcos that they must not mislead consumers about their choices when the NBN is being rolled out," Mr Sims said.
The commission said Optus co-operated with its investigation and in the proceedings.
The Optus Group has a 30 per cent market share in Australian telecommunications with more than 1.1 million broadband customers.