Understanding the contract | ACMA

Understanding the contract

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The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code sets minimum standards for informing customers about the terms and conditions related to telecommunications products and services.

Telephone and internet service providers must:

  • provide customers with important information about their services and products
  • advertise and sell their products and services in a way that clearly explains what is being offered and what you are purchasing.

This provides protection for you against misleading or deceptive conduct when suppliers advertise telecommunications products and services, and allows you to make informed purchasing decisions.

Understand what you are getting

Advertisements must clearly state:

  • any conditions of sale
  • any disclaimers.

This is to ensure that you fully understand the terms on which the product or service is being offered.

Free or unlimited

If the offer is for a 'free' phone or an 'unlimited' internet connection, you should check whether any conditions or limitations are attached to products and services advertised in this way.

A service provider must provide you with information about any fees and charges that are associated with a 'free' offer.

Making an informed decision

When a service provider advertises mobile handset and service packages they must tell you about:

  • the minimum length of the contract
  • connection fees
  • monthly access fees
  • call charge rates
  • any minimum monthly charges associated with the package.

Before entering a contract

You have the right to know certain information before you enter a contract. A service provider must provide you with a range of information—verbally or in writing—including:

  • the type of telecommunications product or service you are purchasing
  • pricing information
  • whether the product is part of a bundled package
  • the term of the contract
  • post-sales support
  • billing information
  • how changes to a contract can take place—unless it is a Standard Agreement.

Your rights after making a purchase

When you buy a product or service a number of terms and conditions may be:

  • set out in a written contract
  • explained to you verbally
  • set out on product labelling.

The fact you have paid your money and started using the product or service does not mean an end to your rights. Rather, you have entered the period when many of the important terms and conditions attached to your purchase commence.

Changing a product or service

Any changes to the product or service you have purchased must be made in accordance with the terms and conditions of the original contract.

Examples of such terms that may appear in your supply contract include:

  • those relating to 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.

Registration and enforcement of codes

Compliance with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code is voluntary. However, if a phone company fails to meet the requirements of this code, the ACMA may direct it to comply with the code and may also seek penalties against the phone company.

More information
  1. Codes information

  2. Telecommunications Consumer Protections code

  3. Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) - If you are not satisfied with the way your service provider has dealt with your complaint.

Please note: this document is intended as a guide only and should not be relied on as legal advice or regarded as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases.

Last updated: 02 September 2016