Optus fell short on some prepaid mobile offers, ACCC says

Some customers may have missed out on included data or call credits they were entitled to

Optus has agreed to offer data, call and/or text credit to some of its customers after it altered the inclusions of some of its prepaid mobile plans, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said.

The competition and consumer watchdog today announced it had accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from the mobile provider.

The undertaking relates to three points in 2015 and 2016 where Optus altered the data, call and/or text messages included in a number of prepaid plans.

“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,” ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.

“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.”

“From 2015, Optus decided to change the inclusions that were provided upon activation or recharge of the SIM card supplied with the Optus Prepaid Products,” the text of the undertaking states.

“These changes included reducing the inclusions, and/or reducing the length of time before the inclusions would expire. In some instances the inclusions were increased but the expiry period was reduced.

“Consumers who purchased one of the Optus Prepaid Products before the implementation of these changes, but activated the SIM card after the changes, received the reduced inclusions and/or shorter expiry period. Optus did not notify these consumers about the changes or advise them that they should activate their SIM card before a certain date in order to receive the full inclusions and expiry that they purchased. These consumers therefore received less inclusions and/or a shorter expiry period than they were promised.”

“Customers who purchased specific prepaid products between August 2013 and June 2016, may not have received all the benefits offered and/or received a shorter expiry period than was advertised at the time of their purchase,” an Optus spokesperson said.

Optus has agreed to provide credit to affected customers and has published notices in stores and on its website. The telco is also implementing an enhanced compliance program for its prepaid products.

“Customers who wish to speak directly with Optus about this matter can contact us on 1300 732 515 (Monday to Friday, 8am-midnight AEST),” the spokesperson said.