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History of payment plans and automatic pre-approval

The outcome
Disconnected all of the disputed services and kept two remaining mobile services active.

The issue

Over the course of a few months, Barry* signed up for multiple high value post-paid mobile phone plans with Yellow Tel*. Barry’s only source of income was a disability pension. 

Barry could not afford these services and was constantly applying for new handsets to then sell them to pay off the bills he was receiving. At one stage, his Yellow Tel debts were over $10,000. When his representative logged a complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, he had completely  lost track of the services he had with Yellow Tel*. 

The investigation

During the conciliation of the complaint, Yellow Tel told us Barry was signed up for seven post-paid and two pre-paid mobile accounts. It is unclear how many services were attached to these accounts, but there may have been as many as 14 phone plans and associated devices in total. Yellow Tel conceded  that although Barry had a history of requesting payment plans and sometimes not complying with them, its credit assessments permitted the provision of the additional services. This assessment process was automatic once he became an existing customer. No ‘credit risk flag’ was ever put on  his account. 

The outcome

The complaint was resolved when Yellow Tel agreed to disconnect all of the disputed services and kept two remaining mobile services active. Yellow Tel waived nearly all the outstanding debt except for some valid charges on one of the accounts.

*Name of individuals, organisations and companies have been changed

Here's how other cases were managed

Complaint
Mobile coverage upgrades promised were not being delivered.
Outcome
Early termination fees for affected customers were waived.
Complaint
A small business owner who manufactures and sells mobile phone cases, changed his business model to offer mobile phone voice and data services, but did not join the TIO
Outcome
The small business completed the membership process.
Duration
1 week