The Communications Watchdog said Telstra has overpaid thousands of customers by about $ 2.5 million over 12 years.
The Australian Communications and Media Commission has ordered the telecom giant to raise its game and comply with federal billing accuracy laws.
Investigators found that more than 10,000 clients were injured by an average of $ 231 between February 2008 and February 2020.
Most of them were being provided with Telstra’s temporary service at the time – usually a cell phone – due to delays in calling or repairing their landlines.
The errors are clear breaches of consumer protection in telecommunications law, said Nrida O’Loughlin, president of ACMA.
“Allowing Telstra to go unnoticed for so long and affect so many customers is simply unacceptable,” she said Thursday.
Ms O’Loughlin said customers should not be charged more for temporary services than they would normally pay under an existing or requested landline service.
“The increased fees are likely to lead to financial hardship for affected customers, which is why ACMA considers accuracy in billing practices an important consumer protection,” she said.
Telstra self-reported the overcharge breach to the ACMA earlier this year.
It says the billing error was caused by IT errors when a new customer database was launched in 2008.
“Obtaining something important like wrong invoices is not acceptable, and we apologize to our customers,” a company spokesman said in a statement.
“Since we discovered the bug, we have worked to refund clients money and change our processes so that it never happens again.”
The ACMA formally directed Telstra to comply with the TCP Act, warning that any further violations could result in a fine of up to $ 250,000.