Telstra warned for overcharging on data roaming

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Telstra warned for overcharging on data roaming

Refunds amounted to $30 million.

Telstra has received a formal warning from the communications watchdog after admitting to overcharging customers for international data roaming to the tune of $30 million.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority first announced it was investigating the telco for a possible breach of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code in May this year.

It said it had been notified by Telstra itself that the telco had overcharged on international data sessions for more than 260,000 customers, adding more than one fee per session, between 2006 and 2012, at a total of $30 million.

The ACMA said Telstra had received incorrect information from international carriers and its data clearing house, resulting in multiple flagfall fees being charged.

The overcharging resulted from international carriers incorrectly filling out transfer account protocol files (TAP files) relating to partial data sessions, which were then misinterpreted by Telstra’s contracted clearing house as full sessions and charged by Telstra as such.

Telstra was able to escape blame, thanks to a TCP exception excusing Telstra because of the incorrectly provided information, until 2009 when it received a consumer complaint.

The ACMA said after that time, any billing inaccuracies were caused by Telstra’s failure to investigate and identify the cause of the problem. 

Telstra notified customers once the root of the issue was identified and has provided refunds. It also stopped charging a $0.50 flagfall for each international roaming data session in January this year.

The ACMA said Telstra’s proactive approach and first-time nature of the offence meant a formal warning was the most appropriate response.

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