Optus gives undertaking for misleading and deceptive conduct

Optus has given an enforceable undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
(ACCC) to compensate its customers who received less data and fewer calls and texts inclusions (“inclusions”) than the advertised offer.

In 2013, Optus had advertised that its prepaid customers would receive certain inclusions for a specified period, upon activating or recharging their SIM cards. Two years later, Optus reduced the inclusions and period of usage. These changes also affected customers who had purchased one of the Optus Prepaid Products before the changes were implemented.

Under Australian Consumer Law (ACL), businesses must not engage in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive. Optus failed to advise its customers to activate or recharge their SIM cards before a certain date so that they could use the inclusions they were promised at purchase.

Optus has accepted that implementing the reduction in inclusions amounted to misleading and deceptive conduct and false misrepresentation under the ACL. It does not matter whether Optus intended to mislead or deceive its customers.

Optus has promised to compensate customers who were affected by its conduct and to not reduce inclusions without meeting certain conditions. Optus has also undertaken to ensure its compliance program accurately reflects its ACL obligations.

Businesses should always ensure their advertisements are based on current and correct information. Customers must always be notified of any changes to products/services so that they can make informed consumer decisions.

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