TPG has been slammed for a $20 non-refundable ‘prepayment’ it took from customers over a 6-year period.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) estimates TPG likely raked in “millions” over the fee and last month instituted court proceedings in the Federal Court against the company, seeking penalties and compensation for consumers.

Customers signing up to TPG had to pay a $20 fee to cover services not included in customers’ plans, such as international calls.

“A reasonable consumer would expect that this $20 payment would be refunded if it was not used, but in fact it is non-refundable,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“It is unacceptable that TPG only discloses this forfeiture in fine print.”

Further, if the prepayment fell below $10, it was automatically topped up to $20.

This means that customers couldn’t use at least $10 of the prepayment for telecommunications services when they cancelled their plan, which was not disclosed, said the ACCC.

“Since March 2013, the ACCC estimates that TPG is likely to have retained millions of dollars paid by consumers in prepayments that were forfeited,” Ms Rickard said.

TPG, which also owns APPT and iiNet, is Australia’s second-largest internet service provider.

TPG did not respond to a request for comment from Information Age.