There’s a lot of information out there about different products and services offered by telecommunications providers. However, there are two pieces of information that providers must give you to help you compare services and find the best one for you:
- Critical Information Summary
- standard charge information in advertisements.
Critical Information Summary
From 1 March 2013, providers have to give you a product summary document known as a Critical Information Summary before you agree to buy a service. A provider must have a critical information summary for each of the products it offers.
You can use the Critical Information Summary to compare providers’ services. Some of the most useful information for making comparisons can be found under the sub-heading ‘Information about pricing’ and includes information on:
Minimum and maximum monthly charges
A minimum monthly charge should include any equipment charge if it is not explained earlier in the Critical Information Summary. If there is a maximum monthly charge (for example, where the provider applies a ‘hard cap’ beyond which you cannot incur additional charges), this should also be explained.
If relevant, information about the cost of making a two minute standard national mobile call, the cost of sending a standard national mobile SMS and the cost of using one megabyte of data in Australia must be included. This information is not required for landline services.
If the service is an included value plan, for a post paid mobile service, the Critical Information Summary must contain an estimate of the maximum number of two minute standard national mobile calls (including flagfall). The information should be set out as follows: "If you restricted your use solely to Standard National Mobile Calls each of 2 minutes in duration, you could make X number of calls".
Standard charge information in advertisements
Service providers are required to provide standard charge information in advertisements for:
- Post-paid broadband plans that include a data allowance; and
- Post-paid mobiles with an included value plan.
Advertisements that must prominently display standard charge information include supplier-placed ads in newspapers, magazines and press inserts and supplier-generated flyers, brochures and catalogues. Alternatively, large brochures and catalogues can clearly reference a section containing the charges, and small on-line advertisements can provide a link to the charges.
The following charges must be included in these advertisements, where relevant:
- The cost of making a two minute standard national mobile call
- The cost of sending a standard national mobile SMS
- The cost of using one megabyte of data in Australia.