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ACCC takes Telstra to court over ‘misleading’ broadband speed claims

6 Dec 2022

Federal Court proceedings have been instituted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) against Telstra, relating to allegations that the telco made ‘false’ or ‘misleading’ representations about upload speeds to residential broadband customers signed up to its budget brand, Belong. In a press release regarding the matter, the regulator claimed that between October and November 2020 Telstra migrated almost 9,000 customers who were on a Belong National Broadband Network (NBN) plan with a maximum download speed of 100Mbps and a maximum upload speed of 40Mbps, to a service with a maximum upload speed of 20Mbps. According to the ACCC, Telstra failed to notify customers of the reduction in the upload speed, and did not lower its charges, even though the cost charged by NBN Co to Telstra was AUD7 (USD5) a month less for the new service.

ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said of the matter: ‘We allege 8,897 consumers who signed up to a Belong NBN plan between May 2017 and October 2020 were affected by this change and deprived of the opportunity to make an informed decision about their internet service.’,

Whilst Telstra acknowledged this failure in respect of approximately 2,500 customers between March and April 2021 and provided them with a one-off AUD90 credit, the ACCC notes that more than 6,300 subscribers are yet to be informed of the changes to their fixed broadband plan. As such, the ACCC is now seeking ‘declarations, penalties, consumer redress, costs and other orders’ with regards to the matter.

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