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Telstra escapes with warning after global roaming ripoff

September 18, 2013 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Telstra has escaped with a warning after overcharging customers who travelled internationally and used data services on their mobile phones while overseas.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued a formal warning to Telstra, saying it had overcharged at least 260,000 customers a total of AUD 30 million for international data roaming between 2006 and 2012.EGT_Artical Banner A 250x250

Telstra has since removed flagfall for international roaming. Once the problem was discovered, Telstra promptly identified all customers who were incorrectly charged for international data roaming and is systematically providing rebates.

ACMA says that between 2006 and 2012 Telstra incorrectly billed numerous  international data roaming customers multiple flag fall fees for single data sessions.

“The incorrect bills reflected incorrect information Telstra received from international carriers and its contracted data clearing house,” ACMA stated.

In 2009, Telstra received a complaint from a consumer who had been incorrectly billed for multiple overseas data sessions.

“The TCP Code requires providers to bill customers accurately allowing for certain exceptions,” ACMA said.

“One such exception is where the inaccuracy is caused by reliance on information provided by contractors. Whether Telstra could rely on this exception was a key issue for this investigation.”

ACMA’s probe found that Telstra could rely on this exception before 2009 – but not subsequently.  Billing inaccuracies after the customer’s complaint was received in 2009 were caused by Telstra’s failure to investigate and identify the problems with the information being provided by its contractor.

“Accurate billing is of the utmost importance’ ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman, stressed.

“Our investigation makes it very clear that all telcos need to listen to their customers who report billing problems and be vigilant about any potential issues with the information provided to them by third parties.”

ACMA said its decision to let Telstra off with a formal warning for the breach took into account “that Telstra was not the original cause of the problem; that this was the first time a billing issue of this nature had been investigated under the TCP Code; that Telstra itself reported the matter; and that Telstra appears to be otherwise currently compliant with the relevant parts of the TCP Code 2012.

“Importantly, Telstra proactively implemented a comprehensive program of compensation that mitigated the harm for affected customers,” ACMA concluded.

Written by : Peter Needham

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