picture of optus store location

Optus fined a massive 6.4 million over deceptive conduct

Telco giant Optus has been fined 6.4 million for falsely warning customers that their home broadband would be disconnected very soon

In May last year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Optus to court over sending approximately 138,000 emails to its mobile customers, claiming that their broadband services would be "disconnected very soon' due to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The email said to "Make the switch before it's too late"

The Federal Court found the statements was misleading or deceptive as the customers were not facing immediate disconnection of their broadband services.

On Friday Optus was ordered to pay a fine of $6.4 million.

Rod Sims from the ACCC said that Optus had shown "extremely bad behaviour by sending a message to potential customers with an untrue claim."

"Optus was trying to get those customers who were on the broadband of one of their competitors to switch to Optus and that's just not the way to go about acquiring customers, you really should not be misleading people," Mr Sims said.

'It was a mistake'

Optus stated the issue occured when a email was "mistakenly sent to customers in May 2018 about the disconnection of their broadband service"

"Optus co-operated with the ACCC throughout this process and we reaffirm our apology to customers who received the mistaken communication in 2018," the statement said.

"We have already offered a costless exit for those customers who took up the offer."

Mr Sims said big companies like Optus should not make such serious errors.

"The email was put together, someone put it together, it therefore was put together by somebody with the intention of going out. Saying it's a mistake is just not good enough," Mr Sims said.

The  nationwide transition to the NBN was a confusing time for many Australians and the ACCC would be scrutinising telco providers to make sure they did not mislead consumers.

"Error or not, when you are found to be misleading consumers you've got to put the systems in place to make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.

Once a NBN is declared as Ready for Service (RFS) the typical time is 18 months before the existing legacy copper network is switched off.

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