Optus fined for misleading advertising: third time in one year

It’s not the first time Optus has been pulled by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) – in fact, it’s the third this year.

This time around, a judge has fined Optus $5.26 million for displaying ads which did not clearly reveal throttle speeds once data limits had been exceeded. The plans advertised a data allowance which is split between peak and off peak, and once the peak data limit had been exceeded, speeds would be limited to 64Kbps – even during off peak times. The ACCC alleged that Optus did not clearly disclose this information in their advertising.

Justice Perram said "Such a penalty will operate as an appropriate deterrent not only to Optus but also to other traders who might be tempted by the thought that misleading advertising is a profitable strategy. These penalties will demonstrate that it is not."

“The court has just handed down the largest civil penalty for a consumer protection matter” ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel said today.

Back in February, Optus was found guilty for advertising plans as “unlimited,” despite the plans having slowed speeds once data limits had been reached. Three months later, the telco was fined $178,200 for misleading mobile plans.

"This is a great result for consumers and the ACCC. The court is punishing a company that disregarded the law and misled consumers," said Samuel.