Australia's Optus Overcharged Customers by Nearly $9 Million
Published on: 26th Mar 2014
By: Ian Mansfield
Australian mobile network Optus has been formally warned for inaccurately billing approximately 237 500 customers prior to September 2012.
An Australian Communications and Media Authority investigation found that between 23 November 2008 and 30 September 2012, Optus failed to accurately bill some customers in respect of its SurePage and SpinVox services, two ancillary messaging options for post-paid services.
Between November 2008 and July 2011, errors in an IT upgrade meant that 2,600 customers were overcharged. However, between 1 July 2011 and 30 September 2012, many more customers were affected by the error with an additional 235,000 customers overcharged a total amount of approximately $8.9 million.
The ACMA's investigation also found that Optus failed to identify and fix the root cause of the billing inaccuracy as soon as practicable.
"I want to note Optus's constructive engagement with the ACMA's investigation," said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. '"We are now confident that Optus has rectified the billing inaccuracy and is reimbursing with interest all affected customers."
The ACMA's decision on this occasion to formally warn Optus is consistent with the approach take in a similar matter and took into account that Optus itself reported the matter; that Optus appears to be otherwise currently compliant with the relevant parts of the TCP Code 2012; and, importantly, that Optus proactively implemented a comprehensive program of compensation that mitigated the harm for affected customers.