News : AGL Customers Misled on Energy Plan Discounts
Sept 1, 2014 -- Energy company AGL misled nearly 62,000 South Australian customers about discounts, the Federal Court has been told.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accused AGL SA of misleading or deceptive conduct in 2012 and 2013.
The court heard customers were told they would get a specified discounted rate for signing on to an energy plan.
But the ACCC said AGL later increased its charge rates, which reduced the discounts and in some cases forced prices above the standard contract prices for SA.
Dan Star for the ACCC alleged call centre operators offered consumers "a discount on your energy usage charges" and the main issue for the court was what initial charge rate the discount related to.
"To reduce this case to the highest level of generality, it is about a 'discount off what?' That's the killing ground of this case," Mr Star said.
Six recorded phone calls between consumers and AGL staff were played to the court as examples of what consumers were told.
The hearing before Justice Richard White was told nearly 62,000 people signed on, but it was likely the same information was given to many other people who decided not to sign an energy deal.
The hearing continues.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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