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180,000 Telstra NBN customers could get a refund

A woman annoyed while sitting at a computer on the left, and a Telstra sign on the right.
Many Telstra and Belong customers could be eligible for a refund. (Images: Getty)

Telstra will review the performance of 180,000 NBN connections to see if those customers are paying more than they should.

Back in 2017, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission won a court case forcing Telstra to check customers' maximum internet speeds.

If the speed did not meet what was promised to them, the customer is supposed to be able to exit their contract or downgrade to a cheaper plan.

But the consumer watchdog on Thursday announced the telco self-reported it failed to perform this check for 180,000 broadband connections that were moved to a higher speed plan.

The affected customers were serviced by both Telstra and its budget label Belong, and were connected to the NBN via fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) or fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) technologies.

"Telstra has since committed to contacting all affected customers and refunding those who have been paying for the higher speeds but not receiving them," stated the ACCC.

"It will also pro-actively move consumers to a lower speed NBN plan if they are not receiving any benefit from being on a higher speed tier NBN plan."

A Telstra spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that some customers who moved NBN plans did not receive a report on actual speed and were paying for performance they couldn’t physically receive.

“We’re disappointed that we’ve let some customers down and we know this isn’t good enough,” said the spokesperson.

“We let the ACCC know and started contacting customers as soon as we found out. Depending on the speed customers were receiving and the plan they’re on, we’re updating their speeds, offering credits or contract termination with no exit fees.”

ACCC chair Rod Sims said every Telstra customer should take notice of the maximum speed they're receiving, to check they are not overpaying – and even consider switching to a different service provider.

"Your maximum speed stays the same no matter which provider you’re with, so once you know your maximum speed, make sure you are getting the best deal available for you."

Sims said the ACCC is also examining other telcos that also promised to proactively check broadband speeds.

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