The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has put Telstra on notice after the telco admitted to overcharging more than 10,000 customers over a 12 year period.
Telstra overcharges customers for interim services
Telstra customers were over charged to the tune of $2.4 million between 2008 and 2020. These charges were connected to interim services, such as mobile phones, that were provided when customers were waiting for landlines to be connected or repaired.
According to ACMA, this was a breach of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.
“For Telstra to allow an issue like this to go unnoticed for such a long time and impact so many customers, is simply unacceptable,” ACMA chair, Nerida O’Loughlin, said in a statement.
“Overcharging can potentially lead to financial difficulties for affected customers which is why the ACMA considers accuracy in billing practices to be an important consumer protection,” she said.
The refunds should be completed now
Telstra confirmed with Gizmodo Australia that it discovered the overcharges earlier this year and began issuing refunds.
“We discovered the problem in February this year and refunds being almost immediately,” a Telstra spokesperson said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
“We believe we’ve now completed all refunds, and we’ll continue to review the situation closely in case there are any unanticipated issues.”
Telstra also stated the billing issue was due to an IT error in a customer database that was first rolled out in 2008.
“Getting something as important as billing wrong isn’t acceptable and we apologise to our customers who were affected by this mistake,” a Telstra spokesperson said.
ACMA has formally warned Telstra that further breaches of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code could result in a fine of up to $250,000.