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ACMA Hands Telstra $24 Million In Penalties For Overbilling Customers

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has “lost patience” with Telstra, forcing the company to pay $24 million in penalties for wrongly charging customers.

An investigation by ACMA found Telstra were wrongly billing around 6,500 customers – most of which were small businesses – an average of $2,600 between April 2012 and August 2023 on inactive internet services.

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The telco has paid a $3,010,320 penalty and refunded over $17.7 million to effected customers. A further $3.4 million will be refunded by the end of the year.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the ACMA has lost patience with Telstra after this series of significant billing errors.

“Telstra has a history of incorrectly billing customers and it’s just not good enough,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“At a time when many small businesses are facing economic pressures, unaccounted costs can create very real stress and financial hardship.

“All telcos must have robust billing systems in place to ensure that consumers, including small businesses, are only paying for agreed and active services.”

It’s not the first time Telstra has been investigated by the ACMA for overbilling its customers.

In September 2020 the ACMA directed Telstra to comply with billing accuracy rules after it overcharged more than 10,000 customers almost $2.5 million over a 12-year period.

This was followed by another investigation in 2022 that found Telstra overcharged more than 11,000 customers around $1.7 million.

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