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This Week in Penalties...

Telco fined $10 million for misleading marketing

Optus got slammed with a $10 million fine for misleading customers over digital purchases.

The federal court ruling is based on proceedings that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) began in October of last year.

The telco earned $65.8 million on the direct carrier bills (DCB) service that was launched in 2012. The same service that came under question.

So far 240, 000 customers have been, and Optus has refunded $ 8 million in refunds. Third-party providers have paid $13 million.

ACCC indicated in their formal statement yesterday afternoon that the telco misled customers when billed customer for third party produced content.

The competition and consumer regulator said the telco they knew since April 2014 that there were customers who were being billed that would have mistakenly registered for the service.

This is despite 600, 000 inquiries but they failed to put in place ‘identity verification

Two banned from managing companies

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) have disqualified two men from managing corporations for being officers of companies that failed and wound up by the court.

The federal court was satisfied with ASIC’s claim that the way that Michael Grochowski and Ian Stephens managed Bilkurra Investments and the Focari Holdings is the reason why they failed.

These companies were used to raise approximately $24 million from investors on their land banking scheme.

ASIC in the past has expressed concern about land banking schemes worried that potential investors might not know that the space is largely unregulated. They have particularly expressed concern with the high pressure ’spruiking’ events where potential investors are pressured into deciding on the spot.

The Regulator said:

The two land banking schemes are known as Hermitage Bendigo (formerly Acacia Banks) located at Midland Highway, Bagshot, Victoria 3551 and Foscari, located at 99 Palmers Road, Truganina, Victoria 3029.

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