Telstra warned on overcharging

Warning comes after the telco self-reported the $30m mistake last year.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued Telstra (TLS) a formal warning for incorrectly billing customers with its international roaming charges.

The warning comes after the telco turned itself into the regulator last November, saying that it overcharged 260,000 customers for a combined total of over $30 million for using 3G and 4G services overseas between 2006 and 2012.

The regulator responded by launching a formal investigation into the matter, finding that Telstra only acted on the issue in 2009, after one consumer complained about multiple incorrect overseas data usage bills.

The regulator has deemed a formal, public warning as a sufficient punishment for the telco given that it self-reported the fault and has also worked to systematically refund incorrectly billed consumers.

In a statement, the ACMA confirmed that it does not have the power to fine or force Telstra to provide refunds. It clarified that the Telstra is doing so of its own volition.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the investigation proves the importance of correct billing in Australia’s telco industry.

“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,” he said.

The ACMA also confirmed that its focus over the next quarter will be on ensuring that all telcos are providing accurate data usage notifications. 

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