The Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) refused to continue discussions with Optus’ subsidiary company before launching a Federal Court case, according to an Optus spokesperson.
The regulator is taking the subsidiary, Prepaid Services, as well as another company, Boost Tel, to court over alleged misleading and deceptive conduct with their prepaid phone cards. Both companies are accused of making certain false or misleading representations in breech of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
Boost Tel buys services through the Optus subsidiary. The case has been fast tracked and a conference is scheduled in Perth’s Federal Court on September 14.
The court action has taken Optus by surprise. A company spokesperson told ARN the subsidiary has been in discussions with the consumer watchdog for several months regarding the allegations and has taken steps to remove the material of concern.
“The last correspondence to the ACCC was in mid-May, which received no response,” the spokesperson said. “Late last week, the ACCC notified Prepaid Services of its intention to commence legal proceedings.”
The telco was under the belief that discussions were ongoing and was shocked the consumer watchdog is taking legal action despite efforts made by Optus to find a resolution.
Adding to the confusion was the lack of reasoning behind why the proceedings will continue in Perth when Prepaid Services is based in Sydney, according to the spokesperson.
The ACCC is demanding injunction relief, corrective advertising, community service orders and its cost of the proceedings.