As a consumer, it’s important to know that you are protected by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010—otherwise known as the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
The ACL gives consumers a number of guarantees about purchased goods, such as mobile handsets. Rights may cover cancellation, compensation, repair, replacement or a refund.
As a consumer, you have the right to receive services and products that are free from defect, in proper working order and of an acceptable quality. These must be fit-for-purpose and if you have asked for certain features the service provider—must accurately describe whether or not they’re included.
Your provider must also guarantee that spare parts and repair facilities are available within a reasonable time.
For more information, see the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) website.
Be aware that mobile coverage is not available everywhere. You need to consider where you’re most likely to use your device, and check the network coverage available from the service providers you have in mind. Providers must not sell you a mobile service that can’t be used in the area(s) that you’ve explained you’ll use the service. Check this useful industry guide.
Has your account been restricted, suspended or disconnected?
If you find yourself in a position where your mobile phone account has been restricted, suspended or disconnected then there may be a number of reasons for this.
These different reasons for the account change will also determine whether you receive prior notification.
The following two scenarios are for when prior notification is not required, if you:
- used your account for fraud
- exceeded the fair-use policy of your contract.
The following scenarios are for when prior notification is required, if you:
- repeatedly pay your bills late
- do not pay your bills at all.
All prior notification should be given with five working days of the account restriction, suspension or disconnection.
The notice must outline:
- information about the service providers financial hardship policy
- any outstanding debt
- payment methods
- ongoing or additional charges (if applicable)
- overall impact on any other services you may hold with them.
Additionally, if your service is disconnected—the notice must also include:
- your mobile service plan, product and/or telephone number is no longer available
- that outstanding debt may be disclosed to a debt collection agency or sold to a third party
- that the debt may be listed as a non-payment default on your credit file with a credit reporting agency
- that legal action may be taken to recover unpaid debt.
For more information, see our how to pay your bills page.
Contacting your service provider
If you disagree with the actions taken by your service provider, you should first contact them to find out more information. Often time’s miscommunication can result in a situation escalating unnecessarily—so contacting them can be quite beneficial.
If you have spoken to them and are still unhappy with the outcome, you have the right to request a review of a decision. To do this, you must clearly outline the reasons for this review to the service provider.
Further resources on the complaints handling process can be accessed from our resolving your telecommunications complaint page.
Customer service standards
When dealing with your service provider on the phone, in email or in person—remember you have the right to:
- be communicated with in plain English
- be treated courteously at all times
- be informed that the call is being recorded
- not be misled or harassed
- have relevant product or account information disclosed in a simple and truthful manner
- request information in an accessible format
- be supported with any specific needs (if you are at a disadvantage or in a vulnerable situation)
- provide your consent to enter into a contract (for a new product or service).
For more information, see our service provider obligations