Optus will refund shortchanged prepaid customers

Alex Kidman 5 June 2017

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Customers who were shortchanged on call, text and data inclusions will be compensated by Optus after an ACCC challenge.

If you're a long-term Optus prepaid customer and you found that your credit seemed to run out a little faster than you had anticipated back in 2015 or 2016, you could soon be contacted by Optus with an offer of compensation.

That's because the telco has undertaken to offer compensation following an ACCC challenge to the telco after it changed the inclusions on plans including the "My Prepaid Daily Plus", "My Prepaid Monthly" and "My Prepaid Monthly Plus" packages after consumers had purchased them.

In a statement, ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court stated that "“Customers who chose an Optus Prepaid plan based on its advertised value, but who activated or recharged their SIM card after Optus changed allowances for calls, text and data, received less than they were promised at the time they purchased the plan"

"Mobile providers must provide the ‘value’ and benefits they advertise. Optus Prepaid customers who may be entitled to a credit should visit the Optus website or the outlet where they bought the prepaid product" she said.

As an example of the conduct that led the ACCC to challenge Optus, it noted

"For example, until 31 August 2015, Optus advertised a promotion where consumers would be entitled to 5GB data valid for 30 days when they bought Huawei E5331 WiFi modem. From 15 October 2015, Optus advertised a new promotion for the same modem where consumers only received 2GB of data valid for 14 days. However a consumer who bought the modem before 31 August 2015, but did not activate the SIM card provided with the device until after 15 October 2015 received 3 GB fewer data valid for less than half the period advertised."

If you're an Optus prepaid customer still with the carrier, it has stated that it will offer credit equal to the amount of data, calls or texts you may have otherwise been entitled to by way of compensation, or optionally be offered a refund. If you're no longer with the carrier, a refund will be made available to you. In cases where it's not possible for Optus to refund monies owed, Optus will make a donation to a charity agreed to with the ACCC.

As part of the undertaking, Optus has also agreed to a 3 year undertaking under which it will not reduce quantities of data (or other inclusions) on prepaid SIM cards (including cards bundled with other products such as mobile hotspots) as advertised unless specific conditions have been met.

The full undertaking can be read over at the ACCC.

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