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Optus in court again over NBN disconnection claims

Optus is back in court over allegedly misleading customers with NBN disconnection claims. Source: Getty

Optus has wound up back in the Federal Court - this time for allegedly forcing its mobile customers to switch to their NBN service, or risk being disconnected.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against the telco for misleading its customers about the need to move to the NBN, because there was no reason to assert they’d be disconnected.

“Optus sent an email offering its NBN broadband services to 138,988 of its mobile customers, and advising them that their broadband service would be ‘disconnected very soon’ and encouraging them to ‘make the switch, before it's too late’,” the ACCC said in a statement.

“The ACCC alleges this was a false or misleading claim because, when the email was sent, Optus understood the recipients of the email were already being supplied with NBN-based services by a company other than Optus, and Optus did not have any reasonable basis for asserting they would be disconnected.”

In May last year, Optus made similar misleading representations to its customers about their transition from Optus’ HFC network to the NBN, which saw the telco cop a $1.5 million penalty following ACCC action.

“The ACCC has had to take action about Optus’ advertising on several previous occasions, and it is concerning that we are again having to take them to court for alleged misleading statements about this issue,” ACCC Commissioner, Sarah Court said.

Court said the consumer watchdog would be keeping a close eye on the NBN sector given its “confusing” nature and process, and will continue to “take enforcement action where applicable”.

In response to the allegations Optus issued a statement acknowledging the ACCC’s action “and its mistake”.

“Optus has apologised to customers who received the mistaken communication and offered a costless exit for those who took out the offer,” the statement said.

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