The Federal Court has ordered Optus to pay $6.4 million in penalties for falsely telling customers of rival broadband services their home internet would soon be disconnected.
The competition watchdog says the Singtel-owned firm emailed 138,988 of its mobile phone customers in May 2018, telling them their existing broadband services would be disconnected “very soon” and encouraging them to switch to Optus NBN.
In fact, the customers were not facing immediate disconnection of their existing broadband services, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said on Monday.
Once NBN has announced an area ready for service, consumers generally have 18 months to switch, although some service providers might have shorter time frames, the ACCC says.
“We took this case against Optus because we were concerned its emails created a false sense of urgency for consumers and may have discouraged them from shopping around for the best deal available,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.