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Optus misled customers over the NBN, cops $1.5 million fine

The ISP gave some customers an ultimatum to switch to the NBN in 30 days or have their service cut off.

optus
Optus

Optus has been hit with an AU$1.5 million fine for misleading customers about the switch to the NBN, including threatening customers with disconnection if they didn't make the switch.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACC), Optus misled customers into transitioning from legacy HFC networks to the NBN. This included telling them they had to choose Optus as their ISP for the NBN when they could choose any provider, and telling some customers they needed to switch within 30 days or face having their service terminated.

Optus made the statements to customers between October 2015 and March 2017, and profited to the tune of AU$750,000 as a result of misleading those consumers. It has since paid AU$833,000 in compensation to affected customers.

"Businesses should not make false representations which distort customers' decision making," said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. "This is particularly important when many Australians are moving to the NBN for the first time."

For its part, Optus said it aims to make the NBN transition "seamless" for its customers, but that it "provided some customers with insufficient notice of their options to migrate and some customers were disconnected before they migrated to the NBN."

"Optus has acknowledged this was wrong and should not have occurred," a spokesperson said in a statement. "Optus has written to affected customers apologising for this error and offering compensation … Optus has also established a revised set of migration processes for its cable customers."

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