Telco Admits It’s All About Them

People Telecom has admitted that some of its staff signed up customers from other carriers without consent.

People Telecom has admitted its sales agents transferred customers from rival carriers without consent and made other misleading claims in order to signup customers.
As part of a court enforceable undertaking People Telecom will now offer consumers refunds and waive debts arising from telemarketing and door-to-door sales on its behalf.

For several years People Telecom has used telemarketers and door-to-door sales agents to promote its telecommunication services, which include mobile, fixed phone and data services. 

Complaints to the ACCC suggest agents transferred a number of prospective customers’ services to People Telecom without their consent, or after representing that:

  • the agents were working on behalf of the customer’s current telecommunications carrier
  • People Telecom was an agent or subsidiary of the customer’s current carrier or resold that carrier’s services
  • the customer was required to change their carrier to People Telecom, or
  • changing to People Telecom would not compromise any current contractual or billing arrangements with their current carrier when this was not the case. 

Some customers affected by this conduct disputed the obligation to pay invoices from People Telecom, and those invoices were referred to debt collectors as part of People Telecom’s credit management process.

In response to concerns that People Telecom smay have breached the Trade Practices Act, it has offered the ACCC a court enforceable undertaking that it will:

  • not make misrepresentations of the kinds listed above
  • write to affected customers, and place a notice on its website, offering to allow them to terminate their contract without penalty, and refund or waive certain debts arising from the misrepresentations
  • monitor the conduct of its agents and ensure they comply with the scripts provided by People Telecom, and implement a trade practices compliance program, including a complaints handling system that will be integrated with the credit management process.