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Check your phone bill

Telcos must make billing information available to customers. When you receive a bill from your telco, always check the contents.

When your telco must give you a bill

Telcos must advise you of the format they will use to give you your bill. They must give you a bill for each current billing period, except when:

  • you pay by direct debit and
  • the charges are a fixed amount for each billing period and
  • you have agreed that your telco will not issue a bill unless the total amount due is more than 10% higher than the fixed amount of your plan.

If your telco is required to give you a bill, it must use a bill format that it has told you it will use. Your telco does not have to give you a bill if your telco service is prepaid.

Telcos must offer you the option of receiving your bills or billing information in a format that you are able to store and reproduce. This might include:

  • paper, sent by regular post (note: your telco may charge you to receive paper bills)
  • email
  • online, including the telco’s website or customer service app.

You can ask for billing information from your telco free of charge for up to 2 years prior to the date you are requesting it. You can also request billing information that is older, but your telco may charge you for it.

Timing of bills

Generally, bills should be sent within 10 working days of the end of a billing cycle. Sometimes there can be a delay before your telco adds a call to your bill.

Your telco must try to include all charges relating to the current billing period in the bill it gives you. They must inform you that some charges may relate to a previous billing period.

When you see a charge for a call you made during a previous billing period, this is called ‘back-billing’. Your telco cannot charge you for a call more than 160 days after you made it.

How to avoid large bills

To avoid large phone bills, make sure you know:

Your rights as a telco customer

The Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code and the Telecommunications (Financial Hardship) Industry Standard give you rights as a customer. These include:

Find out about your rights as a telecommunications customer

Whether you receive a bill from your telco, or access your billing information via your telco’s app or website, you should check:

  • The rate your telco has charged is the rate you expected. This rate is on your contract or your plan's Critical Information Summary.
  • All the charges on the bill are yours.

If you see numbers or charges you don’t recognise, contact your telco as soon as possible.

If you complain and they don’t resolve the issue, you can contact the telecommunications ombudsman.

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