ACCC dives into mobile charges debate


Rampant confusion over mobile phone plans and charges (and yes, we're still waiting for Vodafone to get back to us on its particularly bad case of iPhone plan perplexity) has apparently got so bad that the ACCC is getting involved. ACCC head Graeme Samuel has reminded consumers to be especially careful with excess data fees:

"The ACCC is particularly concerned that consumers may be misled if they are not made sufficiently aware that their data allocations can be exceeded - at significant cost. In the case of smartphones, consumers can download greater amounts of information from the internet than ever before. With this, comes the potential for them to exceed their phone plan value and incur considerable additional charges."

This is sound advice, which we'd almost deem obvious if so many people hadn't signed up sight unseen for iPhone deals. The ACCC is asking phone companies to supply evidence of their consumer education programs in this area; given the speed with which many responses are handled in telcos, we'd suggest self-education is still the best option. Read that small print carefully!


Comments

    Maybe this will be the trigger for them to also look at call pricing plans. I've only ever had a mobile supplied by work and hardly ever use it (and am trying to work out how to filter and delete any RSS feed items with "iPhone" in the title), so maybe I've missed copious discussion on this already, but doesn't anyone else find it strange that cap and monthly plans always state "$NN calls for only $nn/month!". How about my new plan: "$50,000 in calls for only $19.99" oh, did I mention I charge you $100/minute for a call with a $13.95 flagfall? The USA sells their plans in number of minutes, which is a world standard even they have agreed to use to measure time.

    Can one stop programs on their i phone accessing the web through 3g?
    i think not!

    Ben, I agree it's strange - in most plans (caps or not), the calls/sms/voicemail etc are all measured in dollars, i.e." $xxx of calls/sms for $yy a month!" but data is measured in MB or GB per month for the limit.

    What I WANT is one of the networks to offer a cap plan which gives you $xxx of value per month for $yy, where data is included in what you can use that "amount" towards. Even if they charge expensive data rates, such plans would be the sort of thing I'd like - because I don't make many calls or sms's but with a brand new smartphone (iPhone or not) I'm likely to use a fair amount of data.

    Then of course, there's the other way around: Measure calls in minutes, sms in number, and data in MB/GB. Might confuse far more people that way.

    When Lifehacker reported the Vodafone contract including data in the cap, that seemed like a step in the right direction. Pity Voda's denied it but not clarified their position.

    To be honest many of the data plans now avaliable for the iPhone are the best consumers in AU have ever had. I still remember paying $30 per month for 100meg when i owned a Treo.
    @MOLO yes you can turn 3G off in the prefs which scales it down to gprs speed. Also since apple doesnt let many things run in the "background" only push services automatically connect to the net. Last if you want you can use Wifi, at home or hotspots. Once these are setup on the iPhone it will use them before the Telco data assuming you are in range.

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