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Thousands of Aussies due refunds, ‘misled’ on NBN plans

NBN cable installation

Thousands of Australians are overpaying for their NBN connection, as leading telecommunications companies admit to misleading customers into purchasing higher speed plans than their connections could experience.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has urged consumers to reach out to their telecommunications providers, as Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNET, Internode, Dodo, iPrimus and Commander have each admitted they likely falsely represented the connection speeds available to NBN customers with fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) connections.

These responsible service providers (RSPs) advertised and sold plans with the maximum theoretical NBN speeds (100 megabits per second download and 40 megabits upload) despite the limitations of FTTN and FTTB technologies, meaning thousands of consumers could never enjoy such speeds.

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In November 2017, the ACCC announced that each of the eight RSPs would contact impacted consumers to offer them a range of solutions, such as moving to a slower plan or leaving their contract and receiving a refund.

In the 15 months since, 142,000 consumers have been contacted regarding their eligibility for a refund; however, only one-third have responded.

“A large proportion, two in three affected consumers, have not responded to the letter or email from their RSP. They may be eligible for refunds, some in the hundreds of dollars,” ACCC acting chair Mick Keogh said.

“The ACCC is urging NBN customers to contact their NBN retailer if they have received a letter or email offer of a remedy, or think they might be entitled to a remedy.”

Despite the ACCC’s ruling, new NBN customers may also be affected, as some RSPs continue to advertise the maximum connection speeds for their plans.

According to the ACCC, within four weeks of installing the NBN service, RSPs must check their speeds and assess whether they are below that advertised for the consumers plan. If this is the case, they must offer remedy options.

“Our message to RSPs is that if you advertise a particular connection speed and customers cannot experience that speed, you risk breaching the Australian Consumer Law,” Mr Keogh said.

“We expect RSPs to provide consumers with accurate information up front about the internet speeds they can expect to experience, and then deliver on those promises.”

Thousands of Aussies due refunds, ‘misled’ on NBN plans
NBN cable installation
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