AGL fined for misleading consumers

By Courtney Pearson

April 30, 2015

ELECTRICITY provider AGL Energy has been ordered to pay more than $1 million for misleading South Australian consumers about discounts.

The Federal Court found that consumers who signed up over the phone with AGL SA, between January and mid-July 2012, were falsely told a discount would apply to their plans’ standard rates.

By mid 2012 the company increased the rates for its energy plans and mislead customers to believe the discount would continue, the court stated.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission commissioner Sarah Court said discounted plans provided a competitive advantage to energy retailers.

“Power bills are a significant cost for consumers, and discounted energy plans are attractive because of the opportunity to limit these costs,” she said.

On top of the penalty, AGL SA will offer refunds to about 23,000 consumers that paid more under their plan, totalling more than $780,000.

“We accept that we could have done a better job of explaining to our customers the impact of changes to their energy plan rates in mid-2012,” AGL Energy told the ABC in a statement.

“Consumers who are eligible for a refund will be contacted.

“Refunds will vary depending on individual circumstances, but AGL anticipates the average refund will be around $30.”