Dear Lifehacker, I've seen a lot of advertising for Vaya recently. The plans seem good value, but from what I've read the company has rubbish customer service. Do you think they're any good? Thanks, Plan Hunter
Phone picture from Shutterstock
A quick refresher: Vaya sells plans that use the Optus network, including access to its 4G services. (Not all Optus MVNOs do that — Amaysim, which is the largest, only offers the older and slower 3G network, though it has said it will revisit that in the future.)
Vaya's plans are considerably cheaper than Optus' own offerings. For instance, Vaya's $18 a month Power Plan includes 1.5GB of data and unlimited text. They're also no contract, so you can switch if you end up unhappy with the service. They're not the best value at every price point — $45 a month for 2GB of data, unlimited text and $850 of call credit isn't as good a deal as Amaysim's $40 a month plan (which includes 4GB of data and unlimited calls). However, they're certainly the cheapest option for Optus 4G that we know of.
The flipside, as you mention, is that Vaya has a sometimes questionable reputation for customer service. You don't have to search too far to find complaints about the service, whether on online forums or Twitter:
Weeks after leaving @VayaTalk I'm still having to yell at them to refund me. I know I signed up for shit service but this is ridiculous.
— that grum guy (@grum) July 22, 2014
That's not altogether surprising: reduced prices inevitably mean less can be invested in customer service.
A second factor to bear in mind is that Vaya counts data access in one megabyte increments. While it's not the only provider that does that, if you're currently on a plan which counts in kilobytes, you might find that frustrating.
I've not used Vaya personally, so I can't speak directly on whether the pluses are worth the potential minuses. However, given that there's no Optus 4G signal where I live anyway, the stories I've heard about customer service and my need for a more generous data allowance would be put me off. That's arguably the most relevant consideration: if you're not going to get the extra speed, then I'd be looking at alternatives. That said, since the plans are essentially prepaid, the risk of trying them isn't enormous. We'd love to hear from current and former Vaya customers in the comments.
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