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Mobile premium services

Mobile premium services are more expensive than standard calls and text messages, so make sure you know your rights.

About mobile premium services

A mobile premium service may be:

  • a premium messaging service where you pay once, for example, to enter a competition or vote, purchase content such as ringtones, or access online games
  • a premium direct billing service, which is very similar to a premium messaging service, but is accessed over the internet and billed directly to your mobile account
  • a service offered by your telco to access content that is not offered by other network providers, for example a subscription to sport

Before you sign up, use Scamwatch to make sure it's not a scam.

Mobile premium services do not include services where you register directly with the service provider, such as:

  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • Google Play
  • Apple Music

The costs of a mobile premium service

The costs vary but if you use a mobile premium service, you could pay:

  • a ‘sign-up’ cost for a subscription
  • a fee for every message you receive or send
  • a fee from your telco for the cost of downloading data to access the service

From 1 July 2020, costs for mobile premium services will be capped at $20 per month for each service you have. New and re-contracting customers will also need to complete a new customer verification process to get access to subscription services which have recurring costs.

You will be able to contact your telco to increase the cap. You will also be able to ask them to decrease the limit to help you avoid unwanted charges on your bill.

What suppliers must do

Companies that supply content for mobile premium services must include the terms and conditions in their ads. These help you understand:

  • how much the service costs
  • how often you will receive the content on your mobile
  • how to cancel the service
  • who to contact for any problems or questions
  • what happens to your personal information

Ads for subscriptions or ongoing services must include the word ‘subscription’.

When you sign up, the supplier sends you a message with the cost of the service and a helpline number. You can choose to:

  • reply to their message to confirm you want the service
  • ignore the message if you do not want the service

The content provider must send you an expenditure update after you have spent $10 on a single premium service in a month.

These are part of the Mobile Premium Services Code that suppliers must follow.

How to stop the service

Cancel the service if you:

  • receive a bill for a service you did not agree to
  • want to stop a subscription you no longer want

Your telco must stop the service when you ask them to. Follow the instructions in the subscription service on how to cancel. Often you need to text ‘STOP’ to the number in the message or on your bill.

After you send this message, the content supplier must:

  • cancel the service and stop charging you
  • reply within 1 business day to confirm they have cancelled the service

If they do not stop, contact your telco and ask them to block premium text numbers.

Your telco must help you if you complain about a mobile premium service.

They must tell you how to bar these services if you complain or ask about extra charges on your mobile bill. If you want to access mobile premium services that have been barred from your service, you can ask your telco at any time.

Marketing messages for services you haven’t requested, even if they are free, may be spam. You can complain to us about spam.

Complain about a mobile premium service

Companies that offer mobile premium services must follow the Mobile Premium Services Code.

To complain about a premium service, contact your provider, or the content supplier. If you are not happy with their response, you can complain to the Telecommunications Ombudsman.

Report offensive content to the eSafety Commissioner.

Report ads you think are misleading to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

We are not able to help with individual complaints but we monitor telcos and the companies that supply mobile premium services. We act if:

  • customers complain that they are receiving spam
  • someone breaks the Mobile Premium Services Code
  • we see ongoing complaints with certain content suppliers
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