ACCC takes Optus to court over NBN disconnection claims

27 Jun 2019

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in the Federal Court has initiated legal proceedings against Optus over allegations that it misled consumers about the need to move to the National Broadband Network (NBN) or risk being disconnected. In a press release outlining its position, the ACCC noted that on 24 May 2018 Optus had sent an email offering its NBN-based broadband services to 138,988 of its mobile customers. In this the operator told these customers that their broadband service would be ‘disconnected very soon’ and encouraged them to ‘make the switch, before it’s too late.’ The ACCC has alleged that these were false or misleading claims, arguing that, when the email was sent, Optus understood the recipients of it were already being supplied with NBN-based services by another service provider and did not have ‘any reasonable basis for asserting they would be disconnected’.

Commenting, ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said: ‘Moving to the NBN is an important decision for consumers, and it can also be a confusing process … 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.’ The ACCC is reportedly seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, compliance orders and costs.