The ACCC Takes Telstra’s Budget Brand Belong to Court Over Upload Speed Claims

The ACCC Takes Telstra’s Budget Brand Belong to Court Over Upload Speed Claims

The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Telstra again, but this time it’s alleging the telco made false or misleading representations about upload speeds to residential broadband customers via its budget brand Belong.

In a statement, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission explained that back in October and November of 2020, Telstra migrated 8,897 of its customers who were on a Belong NBN plan with a maximum download speed of 100Mbps and a maximum upload speed of 40Mbps, to a service with a maximum upload speed of 20Mbps.

The ACCC is, as a result, alleging Telstra did not notify those Belong customers of their upload speed change, it just kind of did it. The ACCC also alleges the telco didn’t lower the customer’s bill, despite the cost charged by NBN Co to Telstra being $7 a month less for the new Belong service.

In an attempt to rectify this action, the ACCC said Telstra in March/April of 2021 provided approximately 2,500 of Belong’s customers with a one-off $90 credit.

“We allege that more than 6,300 Belong customers have still not been informed by Telstra that their plan has changed to a lower maximum upload speed, and that Telstra continues to represent to them that the Belong broadband service supplied to them has not been altered,” ACCC commissioner Liza Carver said.

“In these circumstances, we are seeking a Court order requiring Telstra to pay compensation to consumers who, we allege, did not get the service they signed up for.”

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The ACCC said it is seeking declarations, penalties, consumer redress, costs and other orders from Telstra on behalf of its Belong brand.

“We expect a company of Telstra’s size and experience to take their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law very seriously,” Carver added.

Telstra, meanwhile, said it didn’t agree with the ACCC’s position.

“We don’t agree with the ACCC’s views on this issue and look forward to resolving it,” a spokesperson told Gizmodo Australia. “When our communications with some of our customers have fallen short, we’ve let them know and made things right.”

This article has been updated since it was first published.

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