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Thursday, 24 November 2005 17:42

Telstra v Orion: both sides claim victory

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Telstra took second tier telco Orion Telecommunications to court alleging misleading telemarketing activity, unauthorised transfer of its customers' services and that Orion had been unduly harassing its customers. The case has been heard, with both sides giving widely differing statements about the outcomes.

In a statement to the ASX, Orion (which trades also as Southern Cross Telco) said it had successfully defended the action. "Telstra was unsuccessful in its attempt to thwart our telemarketing activities and the Federal Court did not grant the injunction sought by Telstra. The parties have agreed to follow the Judge's recommendation for mediation to occur as soon as possible."

Orion said it had: "volunteered to the Court that it will work with all sales agents to maintain, and where necessary make minor adjustments to improve, our quality compliance program. This will be enhanced by an improved verification process."

CEO Noel Robertson said: "We are very happy with this result. We were confident in our case and Telstra's allegations were without any foundation. In line with our quest for business improvement, we will be strengthening our compliance program for sales agents and we look forward to some positive results."

Telstra, however issued a statement saying that Orion had agreed to provide the Court with legal undertakings to address Telstra's concerns about controversial telemarketing activities conducted at its domestic and overseas call centres.

According to Telstra, "In strict and detailed undertakings provided in open court, Orion agreed to:
- Send senior executives to attend all of its overseas call centres to ensure its staff does not wrongly claim to be associated with Telstra.
- Inform staff and subcontractors who are found to wrongly claim an association between Orion and Telstra that they will be dismissed.
- Retrain staff not to transfer customers without their informed consent such as where the customer has intellectual or language difficulties.
- Keep recordings of conversations between its call centre operators and customers for 20 days.
- Maintain a 'do not call list' and comply with it."

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