Optus is being sued for allegedly misleading 20000 customers over the NBN

Optus are being taken to court over allegations they misled customers into signing up for the NBN earlier than required

Optus are being taken to court over allegations they misled customers into signing up for the NBN earlier than required

Optus has been taken to court for allegedly misleading and pressuring 20,000 of its customers to sign up to the National Broadband Network (NBN) - sooner than they were required to.

According to the ACCC, between October 2015 and March 2017, Optus had advised its customers in writing that they would be disconnected from the Optus HFC network within a specified period due to the availability of NBN in their area.

"We are also concerned that Optus cut off some of its customers' internet services when it had no contractual right to do so".

The ACCC also alleged Optus misinformed many of its customers during October 2015 and September 2016, leading its customers to believe they had to switch to its NBN service, when service from any telco would have done.

"We allege that Optus' misrepresentations put pressure on customers to move to the NBN sooner than they were required to", ACCC Chair Rod Sims said. "Telephone and internet are essential utilities, and it is unacceptable for Optus to treat its customers this way".

Optus and NBN Co entered into an agreement in 2011 which saw NBN Co agree to make payments to Optus in respect of each customer who migrated from Optus' existing HFC network to the NBN, whether the customer acquired NBN-based services from Optus or from another retail service provider.

As a result, the ACCC is seeking injunctions, pecuniary penalties, declarations, a publication order, compliance orders, and costs from Optus.

The telco giant are facing claims from the ACCC who allege they told people to switch to the national broadband network or risk having their current service disconnected

The ACCC's investigation commenced following complaints and media reports that Optus had sent communications to its customers stating that their services would be disconnected in as little as 30 days.

The Optus refund followed Telstra having to refund around 42,000 customers for the same issue last month, with Sims saying the ACCC is continuing to investigate other RSPs. Optus aims for a seamless experience for customers transitioning to NBN. The NBN is a wholesale-only broadband access network, being built and owned by NBN Co Ltd (NBN Co).

We also compensated customers who had been disconnected without sufficient notice.

However, NBN CEO Bill Morrow last week claimed it would not be "prudent" for NBN to provide line speed test results to customers before they sign with an RSP for service.

'The ACCC's action today relates to past processes that we have successfully addressed. When we became aware of customer concerns, we suspended all migration activations and reconnected affected customer as quickly as possible.

While the legal battle may well bounce back and forwards for some time, it's a worthwhile reminder that a key plank of the NBN is consumer choice.

According to NBN, the bandwidth being included amounts to "nearly double" the capacity that is now being purchased by RSPs, with additional capacity available for AU$8 per megabit per second per month - a 40 percent reduction on its previous pricing.

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