​Spark returns savings to customers following Commerce Commission ruling

“At the time, we said that if there was no backdating, we would do the right thing and return savings where we could to our customers."

Spark has revealed plans to return savings to customers from price increases last year, following a Commerce Commission decision not to backdate higher Chorus lines charges.

According to the telco, this will benefit eligible home and business customers who are on affected Spark broadband and landline-only plans.

Effective immediately, home broadband customers will be able to go online to get their savings as a $33 account credit on their monthly bill, a six months’ data upgrade to their broadband plan (worth from $60) or make a $33 donation to a cause of their choice on Givealittle, and Home landline-only customers will receive a $33 account credit.

Spark says the $33 equates to the net savings to the company from the Commerce Commission decision.

“We put up our prices in February last year after the Commerce Commission threatened to backdate higher Chorus charges from the previous December,” says Jason Paris, CEO of Spark Home, Mobile and Business.

“At the time, we said that if there was no backdating, we would do the right thing and return savings where we could to our customers.

“While most broadband retailers increased their prices around the same time, to our knowledge we are the only retailer who is now giving back to customers.”

In December 2015, the Commerce Commission increased Chorus lines charges by even more than previously indicated - which prompted further increases in Spark’s retail prices from February this year - but it stopped short of backdating the higher charges by 12 months or more.

“In recent weeks, Chorus and other industry players have confirmed they will not appeal the Commerce Commission’s final decision, and this certainty now means we can follow through on our commitment to return savings to our customers,” Paris.

Going forward, Spark is informing all affected customers directly through their bill to let them know what they are eligible for and, in the case of broadband customers, how to go online and choose their savings option.

“We’re really pleased we can offer broadband customers a range of choices in how they get their savings and it will only take a few quick minutes to go online and make their selection,” Paris adds.

Customers not eligible for the savings include home landline customers outside the three main centres, as in their case Spark is not able to fully recover the cost of higher Chorus lines charges due to a cap on how much Spark can increase the price it can charge these customers each year.

Paris says this also includes ADSL / VDSL customers on Unlimited plans, as their plan prices did not increase in February last year and instead were reduced by $10 a month.

Finally, other customers not eligible include Ultra Fibre broadband customers, who have not faced price increases, because their services are not dependent on the Chorus copper network as well as customers who joined after the announcement of the February 2015 prices increases.

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