Optus to refund businesses $800k

29/09/2021 - 15:04

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Nearly 1,000 businesses will be refunded a total of $800,000 after Optus was found to have charged them for landline services they didn’t use.

Optus has independently elected to issue refunds in light of the findings. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Nearly 1,000 businesses will be refunded a total of $800,000 after Optus was found to have charged them for landline services they didn’t use.

The incident was investigated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which found Optus continued to bill 994 small- and medium-sized businesses after they had transferred their service to other providers.

The billing error occurred for almost a decade, between February 2011 and March 2021.

Optus has independently elected to issue refunds and self-report the matter to Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said billing accuracy would be a major concern for consumers and small businesses.

“Errors like these by Optus can have a big impact on small business,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Fifteen of these customers were charged more than $10,000, which can be a huge amount for a small business to lose.

Optus is the second largest telecommunications company in Australia and should have systems in place to ensure it complies with all relevant regulation.

“In this case, the Optus charges weren’t valid because the company was no longer providing these services to the affected customers.”

Optus has already repaid 98 per cent of the charges and additional interest to affected customers.

The company must report back to ACMA about its refunding program on regular basis, and any further non-compliance could lead to penalties of up to $250,000. 

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