Vocus telcos ordered to compensate NBN customers

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Telcos in the Vocus Group are the latest to be ordered to compensate thousands of NBN customers over misleading speed claims.

Dodo, iPrimus and Commander have all been told by the consumer watchdog to compensate customers who subscribed to NBN plans with maximum advertised speeds that could not realistically be achieved.

A total of 5,000 customers will be compensated – around 3,400 of which signed up with Dodo, nearly 2,000 with iPrimus and almost 600 with Commander.

Customers will be offered options for remediation including moving to a lower speed plan with a refund, or exiting their plan with a refund and no exit fees.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims that between October 2015 and June 2017, the three telcos advertised a range of NBN plans that were misleading. For example, iPrimus advertised its 100/40 plan as “As fast as you can get and will surely feed your need for speed”.

“Dodo, iPrimus and Commander have admitted that by offering speed plans that could not be delivered, they likely breached consumer law by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations,” said ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court.

This misleading conduct affected FTTN (fibre to the node) and FTTB (fibre to the building) customers, with the majority on a FTTN plan.

70 per cent of Dodo customers on the top-flight plan could not achieve 100/40 speeds. 70 per cent of iPrimus customers found the same, while 83 per cent of Commander customers on the top tier NBN plan could not achieve 100/40. A significant portion of these customers reportedly could not even achieve the next lowest speed tier – 50/20.

“The ACCC has now accepted undertakings from eight internet service providers, who have all admitted they likely misled customers about internet speeds. As a result of these undertakings, more than 75,000 affected consumers are being contacted by their internet service provider and offered remedies. New customers will also now be told if they are not getting the maximum internet speeds they were promised,” Ms Court said.

This round of compensation comes after Telstra, TPG and Optus were ordered to compensate customers in late 2017, as well as iiNet and Internode in March 2018.

How satisfied are Vocus Group telco customers?

In Canstar Blue’s latest customer satisfaction ratings for NBN providers, Dodo was rated four stars for overall satisfaction, behind iiNet with five stars. Optus and TPG also received four stars, with Telstra lagging behind on three stars. Dodo also scored four stars for plan speed, behind Optus and iiNet with five stars, but ahead of TPG and Telstra on three stars.

Canstar Blue research indicates that 79 per cent of consumers find their NBN speeds adequate, while customers spend on average $78 per month on their NBN plan. Just 46 per cent of households have an unlimited data plan.

Meanwhile Dodo and iPrimus both achieved three stars for overall satisfaction in Canstar Blue’s latest review of ADSL/Cable internet providers. They both rated three stars across the board, with the only exception being four stars for Dodo on value for money. The ADSL/Cable category was topped by Internode – the only telco to score five stars overall.

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