Monday, 24 May 2021

Telstra to pay $50m penalty for unconscionable sales to Indigenous consumers

I was talking to a former ACCC colleague Alex Malik on LinkedIn recently about this matter and whether $50m was going to achieve any specific deterrence.

I remember many years ago when I was at the ACCC I jumped in a lift in the Federal Court in Sydney with a lawyer and his client, an executive from a major Australian company, just after the company had agreed to pay $5 million in penalty and costs by consent for an ACCC competition law breach. Both looked at me and must have concluded that I was not associated with the ACCC but rather just some nosey poorly dressed court watcher. The executive then turned to the lawyer with a look of relief and said "Well that was pretty painless!"

I never had the heart to tell the ACCC officers running that case what the executive said in the lift after parting with a cool $5 million (back in the day (1996) when $5 million was a lot of money!)

I just wonder what the guys at Telstra were chatting about in the lift in the Federal Court in Melbourne yesterday after agreeing to pay $50m to close this matter off?

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