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Dodo to refund $360k after misleading thousands of customers

Dodo is in hot water. Images: Getty, Dodo

Thousands of Dodo customers will receive refunds after the telecommunications company admitted it may have shared misleading information about its broadband plans.

Dodo admitted that its advertising for its NBN broadband plans was likely to be misleading or false.

It had advertised the plans as being “perfect for streaming” despite some of the plans having a maximum speed of 12 megabits - a speed ACCC chair Rod Sims described as incompatible with ultra HD video streaming.

The plans, advertised from November 2015 to March 2018, also provided a relatively meagre 10 gigabytes of included data on some plans.

“We don’t believe NBN plans with just 10GB of included data are ‘perfect for streaming’,” Sims summarised today.

“Consumers rely on how internet providers describe their services when choosing the best broadband plan for their needs, so these descriptions must be accurate.

“It is simply unacceptable for an internet service provider to tell consumers that their services are ‘perfect’ for a particular use, and to then charge them extra when they use the service as advertised.”

He noted that according to Netflix, high definition streaming will use up to 3GB an hour. That means that the customer will need to pay extra after streaming two or three movies.

“The ACCC will continue to address consumer issues in the provision of broadband services, including misleading use and performance claims made by providers.”

Who’s getting a refund from Dodo?

Dodo has agreed to refund around 16,000 current and former customers who were charged extra data charges over the period when the offending advertisements were published.

Additionally, customers still with Dodo will be offered the chance to exit their contract without any extra fees.

Telstra, Optus also targeted by ACCC

Optus customers were reminded by the consumer watchdog to keep an eye on their texts and emails for a refund from the major telco, after it was fined $10 million in February for dodgy behaviour.

The Federal Court had found Optus was charging customers for digital content they didn’t know they were buying.

And, while Optus has contacted a staggering 400,000 customers, only one in four affected have actually taken up the offered refunds.

“Optus committed to providing these refunds, and will continue to contact customers over the coming months,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said last week.

“Many of the affected customers were charged for content that they never wanted and never used, and from which they found difficult to unsubscribe.”

“In some cases children unwittingly incurred charges.”

The other major telco, Telstra is also in the ACCC’s crosshairs over claims that it had been selling “unaffordable contracts” to vulnerable Australians.

In a statement in late June, the ACCC said it was looking into allegations that Telstra had targeted vulnerable Indigenous Australians with particular selling practices and plans.

The ABC reported Telstra had been selling contracts costing an incredible $250 a month, with customers also slapped with excess data charges of over $1,000.

"Conduct impacting Indigenous Australians is an enduring priority for the ACCC,” the competition watchdog’s statement said.

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