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Optus, TPG refund: 40,000 Aussies get $6.5 million

A person holding $50 notes and the exterior of an Optus store.
Optus and TPG have refunded tens of thousands of customers. (Source: Getty)

Optus and TPG have refunded close to 40,000 customers around $6.5 million for failing to provide them with the internet speeds they had been advertised.

The customers were charged for internet speeds that would not be attainable for them on the NBN infrastructure provided to them, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said.

In July 2021, Optus self-reported that over a two-year period, it had failed to inform more than 34,000 customers that they were not receiving the level of service they had purchased.

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In October 2021, TPG advised the ACMA that it had failed to provide more than 4,400 customers with the notifications required.

Under ACMA rules, telcos must verify maximum internet speeds when migrating customers to the NBN and notify them when speeds cannot meet those that were originally advertised to them.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said when telcos couldn’t deliver the internet speeds advertised in a plan, customers were entitled to move to a cheaper, lower-speed plan or exit the contract at no cost.

“Optus and TPG were charging these people for internet speeds they could not get,” O’Loughlin said.

“These customers were left in the dark and denied the option to move to a cheaper contract or walk away.”

This is not the first time a telco has been hit with action over the failure to provide advertised internet speeds.

In June 2021, the ACMA issued Telstra with a remedial direction for similar issues.

“The scale of service failure by these companies is significant,” O’Loughlin said.

“Our actions will ensure the top three telcos are more vigilant in delivering the internet service their customers expect and have paid for.”

Am I affected?

Optus and TPG have already refunded the affected customers. However, if you believe you have been affected by a similar issue you can contact the ACMA.

Additionally, you can contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to report complaints with your carrier.

Both will be able to provide you with advice about your issue and step in to help if deemed necessary.

Customers can also get in touch with the companies directly.

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