Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The Two that Got Away (or were given away?)

Optus misled customers over ‘Direct Carrier Billing’ charges ACCC has taken another case, this time against Optus, under a delegation from ASIC. The ACCC states in its media release that the action was taken pursuant to a standing delegation of ASIC powers to the ACCC: "The ACCC has a standing delegation of certain of ASIC powers and functions for the purposes of investigation and commencement and conduct of any proceedings in relation to matters involving financial products and services provided as part of, or in connection with, the supply or possible supply of telecommunications services." Why would ASIC delegate such powers to the ACCC? It is not like this is particularly hard work - major Australian corporations agreeing to give up and pay $10 million in penalties. Maybe ASIC has delegated this work to the ACCC because they don't see the work as particularly important? Interestingly, the ACCC is on the way to securing $20 million in penalties from these types of cases so far (ie $10 million from each of Telstra and Optus) which is equivalent to approximately 2/3 of the total amount of penalties secured by ASIC in the last financial year!

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