Australian telco fined $39M for exploiting Indigenous folk

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CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s largest telecommunications company Telstra has been 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. 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 to post-paid mobile products. The customers owed on average AU$7,400 ($5,700) and one owed AU$19,000 (nearly $14,700). Telstra has waived the debts and refunded money. Telstra chief executive Andy Penn said his company is working to resolve the problem. 

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