Telstra has paid a $3,010,320 penalty and refunded over $17.7 million to thousands of customers after charging them for inactive internet services over an 11-year period. A further $3.4 million is to be refunded by the end of the year.
An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found that 6,532 customers, the majority of whom were small businesses, were wrongly billed by Telstra an average of around $2,600 between April 2012 and August 2023.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the ACMA has lost patience with Telstra after this series of significant billing errors.
Read More Telstra to Pay $24 million in Penalties and Refunds for Inaccurate Billing
ASIC Commissioner Simone Constant said, ‘ASIC has taken multiple actions to protect retail investors from high risk offers and business practices that may be unfair, inappropriate or result in poor outcomes. Our more proactive approach to identifying and disrupting emerging risks and harms is in response to the rapid pace of change we have observed in recent years. Today’s report and our recent consumer warning campaign are reflective of this.
Read More ASIC Report Released on Online Trading Providers and Increased Risk to Retail Investors
The total penalties, ordered by the Federal Court, are the highest imposed for resale price maintenance in Australia. Resale price maintenance (also known as RPM) occurs when a supplier of goods specifies a minimum price below which a reseller must not supply, offer to supply, advertise, or display those goods for sale.
“The ACCC submitted to the Court that this level of penalty was appropriate given the seriousness, duration and extent of Techtronic’s conduct. It sends a strong signal to deter others from engaging in RPM, and should serve as a warning for all other businesses,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
Read More ACCC Applies Record Penalty for “seriousness, duration and extent” of Techtronic’s Retail Price Maintenance
Businesses are trotting them out left and right these days, but it’s not clear who gives them the authority to do that, since you already have a right to the three Rs without promising to keep matters confidential.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) effectively keep problems with a product or service a secret so other customers can’t know that it has a history of problems.
“The ACCC has made clear that non-disparagement clauses can breach unfair contract terms provisions.
“Again this comes back to the imbalance of power and information between consumer and business, and why we need strong, enforceable consumer protections.”
Read More Non-Disclosure Agreements, Unfair Contracts and Consumer Rights
“There are a number of gaps in the consumer law when it comes to protecting people from unfair business practices. These gaps leave consumers in Australia vulnerable to all kinds of unfair treatment,” says CHOICE senior policy and campaigns adviser Alex Söderlund.
CPRC CEO Erin Turner says Australian consumers deserve better.
“Australians are missing out on protections that consumers in other countries have benefited from for decades. We need laws to effectively call out and restrict unfair practices. These laws will mean businesses have to treat you with respect and care.”
Read More Make Unfair Illegal – Consumer Groups Call for Strong New Laws to Close Gaps as New Research on Consumer Knowledge Emerges
“It is important that we remain focused on progressing reforms to the Australian Consumer Law to strengthen protections for consumers and small business and improve consumer confidence.”
“The agreed priorities for 2024 build on the important enhancements to consumer protections that have been delivered in 2023, such as strengthening Unfair Contract Term Protections, increasing penalties for breaches of the competition and consumer laws, and establishing the National Anti-Scam Centre.”
Read More Consumer Affairs Ministers Agree on 2024 Priorities
Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action) has filed a class action in the Federal Court of Australia against Taylors Business Pty Ltd. The lead plaintiff, a Victorian woman, represents herself and a group of Taylors Business customers who pawned goods of value to them, but can no longer access their goods because the business has been shut down. Consumer Action became involved when we had a spike of enquiries to our frontlines from affected customers, many distraught at the prospect of losing their items.
Read More Class Action Launched in Federal Court Against Pawnbroker ‘Taylors Business’
Original media release by ASIC (6/11/2023). ASIC has commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court alleging Telstra Super failed to comply with internal dispute resolution requirements. This is the first proceeding under this regime, which came into effect on 5 October 2021. The new regime makes certain provisions of ASIC’s Regulatory Guide for Internal…
Read More ASIC Takes Action Against Telstra Super in First Proceeding Under its New Regime
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has recently published (19/10/2023) its latest ‘Systemic Issues Insights Report’, covering the second half of the 2022 to 2023 financial year. During that time AFCA received 81 reports, 55 of which were related to systemic matters.
Read More Australian Financial Complaints Authority Latest ‘Systemic Issues Insights Report’
The ACCC is putting the caravan industry on notice that the use of misleading representations in advertising is in breach of the Australian Consumer Law and may result in strong enforcement action being taken against retailers.
Read More ACCC Warns Caravan Industry Over Misleading Representations
“If systems have let customers down, we expect all financial institutions, especially our banks, to act quickly to reduce consumer harm,”
Read More NAB’s Conduct Ruled Unconscionable – Maximum $2.1 Million Penalty Applied
Almost a year after state and territory consumer ministers agreed to open consultation on options to address the gap in Australian Consumer Law (ACL) around unfair trading practices, Treasury has released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS) and given stakeholders 91 days to respond starting 31st August and ending 29th November 2023.
Read More Consumer Groups Advocate for Change as Consultations Open on Unfair Trading Practices