Optus is refunding mobile customers after being caught shortchanging them on promotional deals

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Optus has agreed to refund mobile customers after an ACCC investigation found that some were provided less data, calls and SMS than promised.

The consumer watchdog on Monday reported finding three separate occasions over 2015 and 2016 when customers signed up for prepaid Optus mobile products based on inclusions mentioned in advertisements, but were later given less data, calls or SMS when the services were activated.

In response, the telco has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking that it would provide affected customers with the amount of data, calls or texts that they missed out on. The compensation will be credited to accounts or customers can request a refund.

“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,” said ACCC commissioner Sarah Court.

The prepaid products in question included mobile broadband devices, mobile phones and mobile SIMs bought on the ‘2 days on us’ promotion and signed up to ‘My Prepaid Daily Plus’, ‘My Prepaid Monthly’ and ‘My Prepaid Monthly Plus’ plans.

The discrepancy occurred when Optus reduced the data, call and SMS allocation after the customer had purchased the product, but before they activated it for use.

The ACCC gave an example of a Huawei wi-fi modem purchased from Optus before August 31, 2015. At the time, the modem was advertised as including 5GB of data valid for 30 days. Then in October 2015, the telco downgraded the promotion to include only 2GB of data lasting 14 days. But anyone that bought it under the August promotion but activated the service after October would have only been given 2GB expiring in 14 days.

An Optus spokesperson said that, as well as the refunds, public notices had been published in stores and online and plans were in place to “implement an upgraded and enhanced compliance program for its prepaid products”.

The deal with the ACCC also includes a promise from Optus to improve its monitoring of compliance with Australian Consumer Law.

“Businesses must act swiftly to offer consumer redress and meet their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law or face action from the ACCC,” Court said.

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