Expressing its frustration with ongoing billing mistakes from Telstra, the Australian Communications and Media Authority has handed the carrier a fine of more than $3 million for charging customers for inactive internet services.
Telstra has also refunded more than $17.7 million, with another $3.4 million to follow by the end of the year.
Thousands of customers, most of them small businesses, were overcharged by an average of around $2600 between April 2012 and August 2023.
The carrier told ACMA the errors arose because the company failed to follow a series of steps in its ADSL deactivation process.
To address this, it now checks a service has been “actively used” before it’s billed, and the carrier will report back to ACMA within six months on the effectiveness of its controls.
The billing mistakes occurred over an 11-year period, with ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin saying the authority has “lost patience” with Telstra.
“Telstra has a history of incorrectly billing customers and it’s just not good enough”, she added.
The latest penalty follows directions in September 2020 to refund more than 10,000 customers $2.5 million in mistaken charges over a 12-year period; and again in 2022 when the carrier was found to have overcharged more than 11,000 customers around $1.7 million.