Are you entitled to compensation over NBN speeds?

Some of Australia’s biggest internet service providers – Telstra, Optus,  TPG, iiNet, Internode, Dodo, iPrimus and Commander – have been ordered to compensate thousands of NBN customers over allegedly misleading speed advertising. Find out what you may be entitled to by clicking the links below:

NBN Compensation: What are you entitled to?

Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet, Internode, Dodo, iPrimus and Commander have been required by the ACCC to compensate NBN customers for misleading speed claims. Many complaints were made by customers on the top speed tier achieving nowhere near the advertised speeds. Find out the nitty gritty below to see if you’re up for any refund.

Telstra NBN Compensation

Late in 2017, the ACCC announced that Telstra will have to compensate up to 42,000 NBN customers for slower than advertised speeds.

  • Over half (26,000) of FTTN (fibre to the node) customers on the top 100/40 speed tier could not achieve these speeds. Nearly 10,000 of them could not even achieve half the advertised speeds (50/20) which meant they were paying for a premium service they were not getting.

Telstra customers who signed up to the NBN between September 2015 and November 2017 could be entitled to compensation. Unfortunately customers will not receive a full contract refund. Rather, there are several options Telstra customers can take:

  • Exiting from their contract at no cost (usual exit fees can cost well over $100) and receiving a partial refund.
  • Moving to a lower speed tier to closer match what they were achieving and receiving a partial refund.
  • Remaining on their current plan and not receiving a refund (arguably least ideal).

That last point is particularly telling, as customers will need to take action to receive any compensation. Remaining complacent will likely achieve nothing.

  • Telstra Technical Support Line: 13 22 00

Note that customers Telstra has already remediated will be offered the option to switch plans or exit their plan at no cost, but will not be offered a refund.

If you’re an eligible customer, Telstra said it will be contacting you if you did not achieve the speeds you paid for. Expect a call or email from Telstra if you have not received one already. Alternatively, you may want to contact Telstra about your current plan to see if you are eligible for any compensation. These findings from the ACCC have led to a raft of changes from Telstra about how it advertises NBN speeds. Details on Telstra’s updated NBN plans can be found below:

Optus NBN Compensation

Optus announced it will compensate over 8,700 NBN customers who were ‘misled’ about the speed of their plans. Like with Telstra, the top advertised speed for any NBN speed tier is 100/40, but customers regularly found they were achieving nowhere near this.

  • The ACCC found nearly half of the customers on the ‘Boost Max’ plan could not reach 100/40 speeds, and 21% could not even reach half that speed.
  • Over a quarter of customers on the 50/20 speed tier could not achieve these speeds.

The types of remedies available to each customer will depend on the plan or bundle they are on currently, but Optus has highlighted to the ACCC that customers can expect things such as refunds, changing speed plans, discounts and exit from contracts with no penalty.

Optus will also be required to check in with NBN customers within four weeks of connecting to a new plan to see if they are achieving speeds that they paid for. Optus has announced it will contact affected customers by 2 March 2018. Optus has unlimited plans starting at $60 a month, and on its website has changed the way it describes its internet speeds:

TPG NBN Compensation

TPG was the third major domino to fall, with the ACCC announcing in December 2017 that TPG will be required to compensate nearly 8,000 customers for slow NBN speeds.

  • Between 1 September 2015 and 30 June 2017 TPG sold NBN plans advertising up to 100/40 speeds.
  • TPG previously described its top tier NBN plan as ‘Seriously Fast Internet: Up to 100Mbps’, but over 60% of customers had signed up to this plan with TPG knowing they could not reach those speeds.
  • Of these customers, about a third could not even receive half these speeds.

Dependent on the type of NBN plan purchased, customers could receive between $10 and $30 for each month they had paid for their plan if they are entitled to a refund. Below you can see a raft of top-tier TPG NBN internet plans, noting that the ‘Seriously Fast Internet’ moniker is now gone, and on the website more realistic speed parameters are advertised:

iiNet and Internode Compensation

iiNet and Internode were the next dominoes to fall, which could have been predicted given they are part of the TPG family. In March 2018 the two telcos were both ordered by the ACCC to compensate upwards of 11,000 customers.

  • iiNet advertised, “Up to 100Mbps. This is our fastest option and is sure to impress,” while Internode advertised “NBN Platinum: Up to 100/40Mbps”.
  • Customers will have the option to lower their speed tier with a refund or to exit their plan at no cost.

While no indication has been given about any monetary compensation, those affected could stand to save some money every month by lowering their plan to a slower speed tier that they can actually achieve. While audacious speed claims have largely been wiped by iiNet and Internode, you can see how much the 100/40 plans are below, noting that you may not even be able to achieve these speeds:

Dodo, iPrimus and Commander Compensation

These three telcos form part of the Vocus Communications group and together have been ordered to compensate upwards of 5,000 customers for misleading consumers about NBN speeds.

  • All three telcos were found by the ACCC to have misleading claims on their websites about its NBN 100 plans.
  • The consumer watchdog found 70% of Dodo and iPrimus top tier NBN customers could not achieve 100/40 speeds, while 83% of Commander customers could not.

The telcos have been ordered to let consumers out of their plans at no cost, or to reduce the speed of their plan at a refund. Since the crackdown on NBN speed claims, iPrimus and Dodo in particular, as seen below, have been a bit more coy about the typical speeds they can offer.

What if I’m getting slow speeds with another provider?

The ACCC has currently only gone after the big telcos, but don’t be surprised if some smaller telcos are also targeted. Conversely, for customers using one of the big telcos, the ACCC has advised that moving to another provider may not necessarily improve the situation.

  • If you have a complaint, first raise it with your telco and then raise it with TIO – the ombudsman for the telco industry. This may yield the results you’re after before the ACCC takes any action.

In any case, it’s best at this point to remain skeptical if providers are advertising maximum speeds, or if they are being unusually coy about speeds you can expect to achieve. Note that there are over 100 NBN providers out there so if you’re unsatisfied, there’s likely a plan out there for you – all you have to do is shop around.

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