The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is calling on all the nation’s operators to introduce real-time usage alerts to protect consumers from bill shock. From ACCAN media release..
The ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin said “Consumers not realising there can be a two day delay in the data usage notifications could easily use a gigabyte or two of data which would set them back between $50-$100. We’d like to see real time alerts being offered by all of the Australian telcos so all consumers can reap the benefits. Forty-eight hours is too large a gap to inform consumers they have reached their limit. We encourage the other telcos to follow suit and implement real time alerts as soon as possible,” added Ms. Corbin.”
Telstra is the first Australian telco to offer these alerts that notify consumers via text message within seconds when they have used 50, 85 and 100 per cent of their mobile data allowance.
“We’re glad to see Telstra implementing real time alerts for mobile data, this is a great win for consumers. “Excess mobile data charges continue to be an issue for consumers with the latest Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) Annual Report showing that the number of these complaints has grown by 27.2 per cent in the last 12 months. We hope the alerts help consumers more easily track their usage.” Added Ms. Corbin.
In addition to the alerts, there is also still a need for the telcos to inform consumers of how they can monitor their monthly usage because a number of telcos will automatically add extra data to a consumer’s plan for an extra cost if the monthly allowance is exceeded. This can result in consumers receiving bills which are higher than expected. Normally consumers can monitor their usage through apps or by logging into an online account.
Data usage alerts of any kind weren’t always an option, at least until September 2013 when the new Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code was introduced. This updated code included a compulsory requirement to send alerts to residential customers when 50%, 85% and 100% of data has been used, with information about the excess data fees the customer would incur included in the 100% warning. While these requirements have been proven to reduce (by around 6%) the dreaded ‘bill shock’ that many postpaid customers face, ACMA research shows that delays in receiving updates about data use are still the number one cause for dissatisfaction with the system. So while the amount of people receiving unexpectedly high mobile bills has decreased, ACCAN would like to see it shrink even further.
More Here [Gizmodo]