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Australian telco fined $39M for exploiting Indigenous folk

Australian telco fined $39M for exploiting Indigenous folk
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Pedestrians walk pas a Telstra store in Sydney, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Telstra, Australia s largest telecommunications company, was fined 50 million Australian dollars ($39 million) for unconscionable conduct in selling remote Indigenous customers mobile phone contracts that they did not understand and could not afford.

RM

Thu., May 13, 2021timer2 min. read

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s largest telecommunications company Telstra was fined 50 million Australian dollars ($39 million) on Thursday for unconscionable conduct in selling remote Indigenous customers mobile phone contracts that they did not understand and could not afford.

The fine ordered by a Federal Court judge is the second largest ever imposed under Australian consumer law.

Telstra admitted the offenses in signing up 108 Indigenous customers, some of whom spoke English as a second or third language, to mobile phone accounts.

Staff sometimes manipulated credit assessments to say unemployed customers had jobs. They also failed to properly explain the potential costs and falsely represented products as free of cost.

Justice Debra Mortimer said Telstra staff took advantage of an Indigenous cultural propensity to express agreement as a way of avoiding conflict.
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