ACCC takes Optus to court, again

By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: Optus is in hot water for the second time in as many weeks as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) takes the telecommunications company to court.

The ACCC alleges that Singtel Optus misinformed consumers about its ‘Think Bigger’ and ‘Supersonic’ promotional campaigns.

The two broadband plans are typically split into peak and off-peak periods, however, once a customer exceeds the peak allowance the entire internet connection is slowed to 64 kbps, which the ACCC claims is information not clearly revealed to the consumer.

The consumer watchdog is seeking court orders including declarations that Optus breached the Trade Practices Act 1974, civil penalties, corrective advertising and costs.

The case has been filed in the Federal Court’s fast track list for a directions hearing on 16 September 2010.

In late August reported the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) acceptance of an enforceable undertaking from Optus to address the non-compliance of ACMA’s Barring Determination, which came into effect almost two months ago.

Optus claimed technical issues prevented the company from complying with its legal duty to offer customers the option of barring premium SMS and MMS, but that this would be resolved by 11 October 2010.

In June the ACCC filed proceedings against Optus for misleading and deceptive promotion for its ‘$70 pre-paid Turbo Max plan’.

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