17 May 2013

Mobile phone plans – your rights as a consumer

We have all had issues – you may be having issues right now – with mobile phone carriers. Maybe the handset they provided you was faulty, maybe you don’t have the reception you anticipated, maybe you have been unfairly overcharged. Whatever the issue you have, there are steps to take that can resolve your complaint quickly and fairly.

Get to know the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

Like with many industries in this country, there is a government body that is dedicated to regulating all telecommunications companies. They have a website which outlines how to make a complaint when you have an issue with your carrier, as well as a long list of rights you have as a consumer. As a quick guide, some rights you may not know of are:
  • You have a right to ask for a coverage map at the time of signing a contract with a provider. If the coverage they provide is not as promised, you have a right to cancel that contract.
  • If a lack of service has affected your small business, you may have a claim to seek compensation from your provider.
  • In the case of ‘bill shock’ (where your bill was much higher than anticipated) you may have a claim to have that bill reduced, particularly if this was in relation to your plan being advertised as ‘unlimited’ or ‘capped’.
  • While you may have to pay the remainder of a contract if you wish to exit the contract early, the provider is not allowed to charge you an ‘early termination fee’.
  • You may have a right to cease payments for faulty handsets, where they are bundled with your contract, even if that handset is out of warranty.
In many cases, simply suggesting to the provider that you may need to take this to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is enough to have a complaint resolved quickly.