Vodafone to refund customers over misleading third party charges

Telco giant Vodafone has agreed to refund customers after admitting to making false or misleading representations about its third-party Direct Carrier Billing service.

It comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched an investigation into the telecommunications company after receiving an increase in complaints about the DCB service.

According to the ACCC, customers were charged for content that had not agreed to buy or had purchased unknowingly.


“Vodafone has given a court enforceable undertaking relating to the billing service, which charged Vodafone customers for ringtones, games and other digital content provided by third parties,” the watchdog said on Tuesday.

It’s understood the DCB service was automatically enabled on Vodafone customers’ mobile accounts, and purchases could occur with as little as one or two clicks.

The content was marketed and provided by third parties who paid Vodafone commissions for sales to its customers.

“Through this service, thousands of Vodafone customers ended up being charged for content that they did not want or need, and were completely unaware that they had purchased,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Vodafone says affected customers will be contacted in due course and offered refunds where appropriate.

It comes following earlier ACCC proceedings against Telstra and Optus in relation to their DCB services.