Wednesday, 18 October 2017 08:13

No CHOICE but to be reminded of your telco rights

By

Consumer advocate CHOICE is reminding Australians that if they're suffering "ongoing telco issues", it is possible to leave a contract without penalty, but the right steps must be taken.

CHOICE is reminding consumers of their right to "ask for a better deal as complaints about slow Internet speeds and poor landline and mobile services rise to frustrating highs".

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman today (iTWire article, TIO report) "revealed complaints about landline phones, mobile phones and Internet services jumped by 41.1% in the last financial year, with complaints about services delivered through the NBN more than doubling".

CHOICE head of Media, Tom Godfrey, said: “There’s nothing more frustrating than when the internet drops out while you’re streaming your favourite TV show and you’re left playing the waiting game."

The advocate advises "consumers should keep detailed records of any outage they experience, including any financial impact", with Godfrey continuing: "Take the information to your provider when making a complaint. You can then ask for compensation whether it’s refunded data or a deducted bill."

Consumers can also register the problem with the TIO if they feel the issue wasn’t adequately resolved.

“Switching providers is another option if you’re completely fed-up,” continues Godfrey, stating: "Consumers should be able to cancel their contract and leave without penalty if the problem is ongoing and the telco isn't providing its contracted service.”

With so many Australians experiencing issues with the NBN, CHOICE is also urging Internet service providers to deliver Internet speeds that meet their stated claims.

Godfrey added: "In today’s tech-reliant world, a reliable internet service has become a basic necessity and consumers are entitled to services that are reasonably fit for their purpose.

"The fact is, ISPs charge premium prices for their super fast speeds so they must deliver in return”.

CHOICE reports "trying to get to the bottom of speed issues to make sure Internet service providers are honest about what they can actually deliver to customers through its NBN speed test", and states that Australians from across the country have signed up to be part of the project, with CHOICE and Enex selecting participants based on postcode to ensure national coverage.

More information on the NBN speed test is here

So, when your Internet service fails, here are Choice's top tips:

  • Record: Log the dates and times of any outage, disconnection or slow speed. Make sure your records include any financial impact.
  • Make a complaint: Contact your ISP as soon as you can to address the issue, and ask for compensation.
  • Escalate: If you are unable to resolve a dispute with your telco, you can register the problem with the telco ombudsman here.
  • Switch provider: If the problem is ongoing, you may be able to cancel your contract without penalty.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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