Australia's competition watchdog has initiated legal proceedings against Telstra for alleged misleading and deceptive conduct concerning customers of the failed telecommunication carrier One.Tel.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said the ACCC would take action in the Federal Court, claiming that Telstra call centre staff made incorrect statements about early termination fees payable by One.Tel Next Generation mobile phone customers.
The ACCC wrote to Telstra last [subbed] Friday but Professor Fels said that as late as Wednesday, Telstra staff were still providing the incorrect information to One.Tel customers.
One.Tel's Next Generation network has 200,000 customers.
"The ACCC is alleging that consumers were advised by Telstra representatives, as late as yesterday, that if they transferred their mobile phone service to any mobile phone service provider other than Telstra, or did not transfer to Telstra before a certain date, that One.Tel administrators may seek termination fees," Professor Fels said.
"In fact, the One.Tel administrators turned off the Next Generation mobile phone network on June 9 2001.
"It is the view of the ACCC that no contract termination fees can apply to customers who transfer to any other service provider after One.Tel withdrew its service. Clearly the customer must not incur a penalty when it is the business that stopped providing its services."
The ACCC is seeking an injunction preventing Telstra from making the allegedly misleading statements as well as newspaper ads correcting those statements and compensation for customers.
The matter has been scheduled to be heard in the Federal Court today.