Optus in hot water over questionable phone cards

Optus Mobile Pty Ltd has come under fire from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to the sale of its prepaid phone cards.

Prepaid Services Pty Limited and Boost Tel Pty Limited, which are subsidiary’s under the Optus Mobile company, have had legal proceedings filed against them in the Federal Court, Perth, for alleged contraventions of consumer protection provisions of the Trade practices Act 1974.

The ACCC alleges that Prepaid Services and Boost represented that its phone cards would provide consumers with a specified amount of call time when that was not the case.

In addition to this it claimed that no fees other than timed call charges would apply when in fact other fees were charged and that a rate per minute for calls would apply regardless of the number and length of calls made when in fact that call rate is highly unlikely to be achieved.

Due to this the ACCC has accused Prepaid Services and Boost of engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct and made certain false or misleading representations in contravention of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

According to the ACCC, Boost does not have its own telecommunications services but buys its services through Prepaid Services. It is alleged that Prepaid Services has been knowingly concerned in the contraventions of Boost.

The ACCC is currently seeking declarations that Prepaid Services’ and Boost’s conduct contravened the Act, injunctive relief, corrective advertising, community service orders and its costs of the proceedings.

The matter has been filed in the federal Court’s fast track list and is listed for a scheduling conference in Perth on 14 September 2009.

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