Understanding your internet service contract | ACMA

Understanding your internet service contract

Before you sign up for a product or enter into an internet contract (including for an NBN plan), it’s important that you know your rights. These are usually set out in the terms and conditions of the product or service, accessed in either written contract form, explained verbally or set out in the product labelling.

What do I have the right to know?

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code) sets minimum standards for informing customers about the terms and conditions of their telecommunications products and services.

As part of this code, service providers must:

  • give customers important information about their services and products
  • advertise and sell their products and services in a way that clearly explains what is being offered.

This helps protect you against misleading or deceptive conduct—allowing you to make informed purchasing decisions. 

Fees and charges

When a service provider advertises internet plans they must disclose:

  • the minimum length of the contract
  • connection fees
  • the cost of any mandatory equipment such as a modem
  • whether the service is bundled with a home phone
  • monthly access fees
  • cost of any excess data charges that may apply
  • any minimum monthly charges associated with the package.

A service provider is also required to inform you of any fees and charges associated with a ‘free’ offer.

Service providers must also have a range of consumer information accessible on their website.

This includes the terms and conditions of their products and services, and a range of other information including product summaries, billing information, spend management tools and complaints-handling processes.

Accepting certain conditions

Sometimes, following a credit assessment, a service provider may offer you a telecommunications product or service only under certain conditions.

These may include you providing a guarantor, a security deposit or agreeing to a restriction on the use of the telecommunications product or service.

If a service provider restricts the use of a telecommunications service, it must give reasons for its decision and explain how the restriction can be lifted.

For more information, see our provider conditions on telecoms services page. 

Changing a product or service

Changes to a product or service must be made in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the original contract. This includes:

  • varying the contract
  • early termination of the contract
  • the return of a product within a specified period
  • incurring a specified amount of call charges in order to pay the minimum amount due under a contract.

Changing service providers

Before you cancel your contract or change service providers, familiarise yourself with any early termination fees.

The structure of these fees can vary greatly, with some based on a fixed fee approach while others based on duration left on your contract.

Are NBN contracts different?

Generally, the same rules about contracts for internet services apply regardless of how the internet service is delivered (for example, by ADSL2+, cable or NBN). If you are thinking of moving onto the NBN, though, there are a few extra things to consider such as whether the NBN is available in your area yet, what data speeds are on offer, and whether  a backup battery supply is available.

More information about the NBN is available on the ACMA website and from nbnco.

Last updated: 15 March 2017