optusWe’re sure most of us have at one point or the other experienced bill shock. This could come from your carrier where you might have exceeded your monthly data cap, or made one too many international phone calls. Not to mention the way carriers charge for services, it makes it quite hard to get a handle on some of the rates sometimes.

Well over in Australia it seems that local carrier, Optus, has been formally warned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for overcharging 237,500 customers a total of A$8.9 million (roughly $8.2 million after conversion) from July 2011 to September 2012. If we were to average it out, that’s about $32.50 per customer that Optus has overcharged.

Granted we might not think too much about those charges when spread over a few months, but when it all adds up, that is indeed a lot of money. Thankfully this isn’t as big a deal as it seems because Optus noticed the error and had reported it to the ACMA. The error was apparently caused during an IT upgrade and had caused charges to be applied incorrectly for some of their customers.

In fact this issue stems from way back in 2008 but was only brought to Optus’ attention in August of 2011. Optus has since reimbursed customers and the public was informed about the issue and according to an Optus spokesperson, “At Optus, we have a single-minded focus to make things better for our customers, which means being honest and transparent about our mistakes, fixing them and compensating customers. The majority of affected customers have already received compensation, with the rest receiving it by the end of March.”

If anything this teaches us to be more prudent when it comes to checking our monthly bills and receipts. Sure an extra dollar or two every month might not seem like much, but as we can see, with the potential to accidentally overcharge a few hundred thousand customers over the course of the year, the amount certainly adds up. So, when was the last time you got a bill shock?

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about Legal.

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