Today it was announced that Telstra has refunded over 72,000 mobile customers over its Premium Direct Billing (PDB) third party service. The refunds come off the back of an ACCC investigation into the matter and totals at over $9.3 million.
This amount is in addition to $5 million that had previously been paid out by Telstra abd third parties to customers.
Earlier this year Telstra admitted to misleading and charging up to 100,000 customers between 2015 and 2016 for unwittingly signing up to digital content subscriptions such as ringtones and games without any payment details or identity verification.
It was also discovered that when some customers contacted Telstra about the billing issue, they were directed to third parties even though the telco knew that people were having difficulty obtaining refunds or cancellations from third party suppliers.
In April The Federal Courtfound that Telstra was in breach of the ASIC Act and fined $10 million.
The Federal Court is ordering Telstra to pay penalties for charging up to 100,000 mobile customers for third-party content without their consent.
This order comes a month after the ACCC commenced proceedings against Telstra, under a delegation of power from ASIC, and has resulted in a hefty $10 million fine.
“We are pleased to see so many customers refunded by Telstra. It’s clear a large number were charged for content like ringtones and wallpapers that they did not want, did not use, and had difficulty unsubscribing from,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“Following our action, Telstra has paid close to $20 million in penalties and refunds. This should serve as a warning to all telecommunication providers that misleading and deceiving customers will result in serious consequences.”
While $25 million is a significant amount to pay out in fines and refunds, it's worth noting that Telstra earned around $61.7 million between July 2013 and October 2017 in net revenue from commissions on premium billing services.
If you're a Telstra customer and believe an unauthorised PDB charge was applied to your account, contact Telstra directly.
Telstra has admitted to misleading customers, charging up to 100,000 people for signing up to ringtone, gaming, or other digital content subscriptions without payment details or identity verification taking place.
There's gonna be a whole lot of refunds going out for this.