Being sold a mobile plan on a network that turns out not to be available where you need it is an all-too-common experience. A current ACCC court case demonstrates just how extreme the practice can be.
In a case due to go before the Federal Court in Darwin on May 17, the ACCC alleges that telemarketer EDirect sold and accepted payment for mobile phone contracts to consumers even though the service in question was not available at the address provided by those consumers:
The ACCC alleges EDirect engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and misrepresented the performance characteristics, uses or benefits of its mobile telecommunication services, namely that the services would work in areas where the service in fact could not work.
The ACCC didn't specify which network EDirect was using, but its site suggests it buys network access wholesale from Optus.
One of our more consistent bits of advice at Lifehacker is to always check mobile reception in your area before signing up to any plan. From that perspective, buying a mobile phone or phone plan from a telemarketer is a really bad idea. (Remember also that telemarketers are restricted in when they can place calls.) Disturbingly, it's not the first time that EDirect (which has also traded as Viptel) has been taken to court for this kind of practice — we'll keep an eye on the outcome.