- Telstra offers to refund customers for slow National Broadband Network speeds
- Contributed by: Pina ( 10 articles in 2017 )
TELSTRA will refund customers for sluggish NBN speeds after an investigation by the consumer watchdog, who has warned it is an ‘industry problem’.
TELSTRA has offered to refund 42,000 customers for slow National Broadband Network speeds, following an investigation by the consumer watchdog.
The telco will offer remedies to those who purchased internet services through both Telstra and Belong brands between September 2015 and November this year after admitting it breached consumer law by promising NBN speeds that it was not capable of delivering.
“All businesses have a responsibility to ensure that claims about the performance of their products or services are accurate,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said today.
“This is particularly important in cases where consumers sign long-term contracts to acquire a service. Telecommunications contracts are typically 12-24 months in duration and this can represent a serious financial commitment.”
“Our investigation revealed many of Telstra’s FTTN and FTTB customers could not receive the maximum speed of their plan. Even worse, many of these customers could not receive the maximum speed of a lower-speed plan.
News: Telstra offers to compensate 42,000 customers for slow NBN speeds
“In essence, people were paying more to get higher speeds that they just weren’t able to get.”
Telstra had notified the ACCC of some issues, but not all, relating to affected customers, which were then uncovered by the investigation.
“We are pleased that Telstra proactively reported this serious problem to the ACCC and has co-operated in creating a remediation plan for affected customers,” Mr Sims said.
“However, we are mindful this is not just a Telstra problem; it is an industry problem where consumers are often not getting the speeds they are paying for.”
“We will continue to investigate other retail service providers selling broadband plans over the NBN and take enforcement action where appropriate.
“As we’ve said previously, we expect RSPs [retail service providers] to provide consumers with accurate information upfront about the internet speeds they can expect to receive, and then deliver on those promises.”
“The ACCC is keen to separate out two issues affecting customers’ broadband speeds. First, and the subject of today’s action, is the situation where the connection is not capable of delivering the speed that has been sold.”
“Telstra has undertaken that, where it advertises or otherwise represents to potential customers that they will receive a particular speed, it will, within four weeks of connecting a new service, check each customer’s attainable speed. If it is below the advertised speed, Telstra will notify the customer and offer remedies.”
Mr Sims said the second issue was where speed could be delivered technically but the ISP had not purchased enough capacity from the NBN to provide the speeds which it is advertising, including at peak times.
“To address this second problem of under provisioning, the ACCC is urging all ISPs to advertise the typical speeds customers can expect in the busy evening period between 7:00pm and 11:00pm,” he said.
“Our message to retailers is that if you advertise a particular speed and customers cannot get that speed, you will risk breaching the Australian Consumer Law.”
Telstra says it has been using robotic testers in its network for the last 18 months to ensure it is buying the right amount of bandwidth (known as the connectivity virtual circuit charge or CVC) from NBN Co. to deliver the appropriate speeds to customers.
Telstra executive for Consumers and Small Business, Vicki Brady, said the telco had taken the industry lead in proactively providing refunds for disgruntled NBN customers.
“Providing a great customer experience is our number one priority and that includes giving customers as much choice as possible as they connect to an NBN service,” Ms Brady said.
“As it is not possible to accurately determine what speed the nbn can deliver to a customer prior to connection, we have been reviewing the speeds of customers who take up a speed boost on their FTTN or FTTB nbn services after connection. We have been undertaking this review since May 2017 and, where we identify they cannot attain the benefit of the speed boost, we have been contacting them to provide refunds.”
Telstra said it will contact customers affected over the coming weeks.
If Telstra customers have a concern the ACCC has urged them to contact the telco giant directly.