TELSTRA has agreed to compensate about 42,000 customers for promoting and offering some of its nbn speed plans as being capable of delivering specified maximum speeds, when those speeds could not be achieved in real-world conditions.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said between September 2015 and November 2017, Telstra offered internet services through both its Telstra and Belong brands, advertising a range of different speed plans.
This included a super fast speed boost which advertised maximum download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and maximum upload speeds of up to 40 Mbps (100/40 Mbps).
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said limitations on the affected customers’ nbn fibre to the node (FTTN) or fibre to the building (FTTB) internet connections, however, meant many customers’ internet services were not capable of receiving the maximum advertised speeds of the plans.
“Our investigation revealed many of Telstra’s FTTN and FTTB customers could not receive the maximum speed of their plan,’’ he said.
“Even worse, many of these customers could not receive the maximum speed of a lower-speed plan.
“In essence, people were paying more to get higher speeds that they just weren’t able to get.”
He said Telstra admitted it was likely to have contravened the Australian Consumer Law by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations.
Telstra has provided a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC detailing the remedies it will provide affected customers, including refunds, the option to change speed plans, and exit from contracts without paying a fee.
“All businesses have a responsibility to ensure that claims about the performance of their products or services are accurate.
This is particularly important in cases where consumers sign long-term contracts to acquire a service.
Opposition Communication spokeswoman Michelle Rowland and Opposition Regional Communications spokesman Stephen Jones said they welcomes steps by Telstra to compensate consumers who had been sold a speed which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s copper nbn could not support.
Ms Rowland said the developments were a stunning rebuke to the second-rate technology decisions Turnbull had imposed on the nation.
“The copper NBN has been exposed as a dud,’’ she said.
Mr Jones said Mr Turnbull was spending $50 billion of taxpayers’ money on a second-rate network that was denying consumers the speeds they were willing to pay for.
They said figures released by the ACCC showed 56 per cent of consumers who had been sold a 100 Mbps plan were on a copper connection that was not fit for purpose.