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Guides

Our job is to help people and small businesses with their unresolved phone and internet problems, billing complaints, customer service problems, faulty services, contracts, connections or disconnections, and privacy issues.

In the Guides listed on this page, you’ll find information on your rights and responsibilities, your telco provider's obligations, how we can help you, and tips for avoiding telco problems. 

 

Billing and payments

We can help with your complaint about a mobile phone service. This includes doing your research before you sign up, weighing up the service limitations, and checking available payment methods.

Have you been charged for something you didn’t agree to by your provider? Here’s what you can do to stop direct debits from your bank account or credit card.

We can help with your complaint about direct debit payments, payment fees, and payments that are missing or applied incorrectly. To resolve your complaint, we consider the law, good industry practice and fairness.

We can help with your complaint about charges and rates that you didn’t agree to, as well as complaints about excess usage charges and administrative fees that you think are too high. To resolve your complaint, we consider the law, good industry practice and fairness.

We can help with your complaint about bills that are unclear, irregular or delayed, as well as complaints about how bills are provided. To resolve your complaint, we consider the law, good industry practice and fairness.

How we've helped with billing and payment issues

Complaint
Neil was not offered a reasonable payment arrangement when he was unable to work
Outcome
After we referred Neil’s complaint to Pebble Telco’s escalated complaints team, Pebble Telco agreed Neil could pay off his debt over several months, at a monthly rate he could afford.
Complaint
Conall was sold more than $15,000 worth of mobiles and accessories while on a government pension by CurbTel.
Outcome
CurbTel agreed to waive the cancellation fees out of goodwill to Conall. It let him keep his mobile handsets.

Credit management

Are you struggling to pay a bill? We can help with finding the right information from your telco and requesting a payment plan or arrangement.

We deal with complaints about credit enquiries such as a provider not telling you it would check your credit file, a provider giving a credit reporting body incorrect information about the type of account you applied for (for example commercial or consumer credit), and a provider checking your credit file when you did not apply for a post-paid service.

We can help with your complaint about an incorrect default or serious credit infringement. To resolve your complaint, we consider the law, good industry practice and fairness.

We can help with your complaint about a provider not doing enough to help you manage your usage and how much you are spending. To resolve your complaint, we consider the law, good industry practice and fairness.

We can help with your complaint about your service being suspended, restricted or disconnected because you haven’t paid overdue charges.

We can help with your complaint about how your provider or its collection agents have collected debt for overdue charges.

We can help with your complaint if you are in financial hardship – that is, you are willing to pay, but are having trouble doing so – and you’re not happy with how your provider has responded.

How we've helped with credit management issues

Problems with your service

This guidance note tells you:
the types of complaints about telecommunications equipment we can and cannot consider
what we take into account when looking at these complaints
what we expect from you.

When we deal with complaints involving faulty services we consider what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances having regard to the law, relevant industry codes, guidelines, and good practice. 

We can help with your complaint about services that are faulty. To resolve your complaint, we consider what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances having regard to the law, relevant industry codes, guidelines, and good practice.

This help page tells you what to do when you have a fault on your service that keeps coming back. It also explains what what your provider should do, and what remedies are available.

This help page tells you what remedies are available when your internet service is slower than expected, and your provider cannot fix the problems.

This help page tells you how our office handles complaints about unauthorised SIM card swapping.

We can help with your complaint about certain problems with phone numbers, including complaints about losing access to your number because you have lost the rights of use of it or it has been quarantined. We can also help if you have been given an out of area number – that is, a number with an area code different to your actual location – without being told how calls will be charged.

How we've helped with service issues

Complaint
Telco C credits customers who received high bills after using a ‘pre-paid’ service
Outcome
We worked with Telco C to help it improve the information it gave customers about possible data charges

Customer service

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly changing the way Australians live and work. Phone and internet services are more important than ever, providing a vital link for consumers and small businesses to work, study, connect with friends and family, and access important services.

We deal with some compensation claims for financial loss caused by a breach of an obligation that a provider owes a consumer, and embarrassment or humiliation caused by a privacy breach.

We can help with complaints about how a provider has responded to your different needs, including complaints about priority assistance services – a higher level of service available to consumers with life threatening medical conditions.

We can help with complaints about your provider’s customer service and how it has dealt with your enquiry or complaint.

How we've helped with customer service issues

Complaint
Telco C credits customers who received high bills after using a ‘pre-paid’ service
Outcome
We worked with Telco C to help it improve the information it gave customers about possible data charges

Setting up a service

We can help with your complaint about a mobile phone service. This includes doing your research before you sign up, weighing up the service limitations, and checking available payment methods.

We expect providers to provide post-paid services to you responsibly. A “post-paid” service is a service you pay for after you use all or some of the service. For example, you might pay an access fee to use a mobile service in advance, but you pay all call and data charges after you use them. You can also include a handset or tablet in a post paid plan that you pay off through regular repayments. Usually, these products have minimum term contracts of 12, 24 or 36 months.

We can help with your complaint about problems connecting or disconnecting your landline, mobile or internet service, or having your service mistakenly disconnected.

We can help with your complaint about problems that happened when you transferred an existing service from one provider to another.

We can help with your complaint about how a provider behaved when selling you a product or service, including what information they provided. We can also help with complaints about contracts that you didn’t agree to.

How we've helped with setting up a service

Small business

Are you a small business owner? Here are some tips about signing up for a new plan, checking your address details, considering your business needs, and being aware of sales pressure when you set up a new service.

We recommend small businesses and providers ensure there’s a back-up in place if phone or internet services are disrupted.

We recommend small businesses and providers minimise the risks when connecting new services by checking that the business address is correct, communicating about expected connection timeframes or delays and planning for enough connection time.

When choosing phone or internet products, small businesses have many more options to consider than residential consumers. The costs of getting these options wrong, particularly when combined with poor sales experiences, can lead to complaints.

How we've helped small businesses

Land and infrastructure

We can determine objections from land owners and occupiers to land access activities proposed by carriers – including the installation of low-impact facilities, land inspections and facility maintenance.

We can help with your complaint about connection infrastructure – that is, the cables and equipment that connect your property to the telecommunications network.

We can help with your complaint about a provider damaging your land or property while planning, installing or repairing infrastructure or a telecommunications service. We also deal with complaints about providers trying to recover costs for damage to their infrastructure.

How we've helped with land and infrastructure issues

Privacy and safety

Secure your service against malicious activity – here are some tips on data security, how to verify that you’re speaking with the right people, and where to report suspicious activity.

Do you think your account has been accessed without your authorisation? Your telco needs to take reasonable care to process your purchases and protect your information.

We can help you to feel safe and supported by your telco, and to ensure your privacy and account security is protected.

We deal with complaints about providers not following the correct process to respond when their service was used to contact you with a bomb threat, a threat of serious injury or kidnapping, a threat to public safety or an extortion demand, and swapping SIMs without taking proper care.

We can help with your complaints about problems with a silent line. We also deal with complaints about how a provider has managed your personal information, such as your contact details or credit information.

How we've helped with privacy and safety issues

Family Violence

This guide tells you what remedies may be available if you are experiencing family violence and have phone or internet problems related to financial hardship and economic abuse, privacy or safety issues, or technology facilitated abuse.

We can help you to feel safe and supported by your telco, and to ensure your privacy and account security is protected.

How we've helped other consumers