Ask LH: Are Vaya's Plans Worth It?

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

Dear PH,

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:

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.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    It's worth mentioning that vaya also sell data bolt ons for $7/GB

      Site lists bolt-ons at $15/GB, not $7.

        Yeah, if you had a plan on vaya before christmas, they cant up the price on you for data. They changed the pricing in January

      You pay for what you get. crap service for cheap plans. Their high data plan of 1.5G looks good except that Vaya live data guide and Data usage notification will tell you that you are 85-90% of your data limit when your actual data usage is only 3%. When you get through the helpdesk(after many calls and long waiting time) to check on this issue, they sell you the "bolt on" to have a peace of mind but they DO NOT BORDER solving their data tracking system issue. I think this is a gimmick to get you to upsell or scaring you to limit your data usage. Plenty of similar complains in Vaya forum from many irate customers. For 2 years I did not have any problems and was a happy customer recommending friends to Vaya. Now I cannot in my clear conscience recommend anyone to this FRUSTRATING VAYA service.

    I signed up for a 10GB data pack for $33 p/m (it's more expensive now). Here I was thinking that it's a month-to-month deal, cancel anytime. They charge a $30 cancellation fee.

    Also, they charge around the same for a new SIM Card. Was told by customer support that if I don't want to pay it, don't whinge about the cost and don't call back again.

      For regular phone accounts I seem to remember that the disconnection fee used to be waived if you are porting out to a new provider instead of cancelling the number, dont quote me on that though as I cant find info regarding that on their site now. Not sure if its the same with data packs.

      I do remember getting hit with 2 dishonored payment fees in a row early on when I first signed up. Im fairly sure only one was really applicable and attempted to follow it up with VAYA but then just gave up ($10 each time) as they didnt seem to understand what I was saying to them.

      Im on a grandfathered $11 plan (which is now about $18 I think) and it does me very nicely.

      Was told by customer support that if I don't want to pay it, don't whinge about the cost and don't call back again.
      Now that is shocking. That person needs an arse whooping.

        I ended up borrowing a SIM cutter from a friend and never called back to whinge.

        pffft. more people need to be told to man up or shut up by companies. people expect the fucking world these days.

          So expecting a $2 SIM to cost a reasonable amount of money is expecting the world is it? Jeez someone needs perspective.

    Recently, I was barred from my account. One phonecall to them and I was back in 5 minutes, a very good experience

    It seems to be a form of recreation to moan about Vaya on Whirlpool, but for what it's worth I've had zero problems. I ported from LiveConnected (also zero problems) as my plan was about to be grandfathered. I don't use 4G, but the $18 plan is still the best value out there IMHO. 1MB data billing is not a problem for me either.

    I was the person who enquired about the 1MB data tracking, and aside from that issue I (and my partner) haven't had any problems with Vaya.

    Most of the complaints seem to be about the customer service. My experience has been fine in that regard - my browser refreshed while I was signing up and it added two accounts to my name. They fixed this in 24 hours, with no issues at all.

    A quick FYI - it's best to think of the data allowance as 1.2Gb, rather than 1.5Gb. The 1MB measurement adds about a 20% overhead, so consider that when comparing plans.

    Vaya have limitations on your ability to change plans. For example, if you sign up for a cheaper plan and want to upgrade, Vaya won't allow that. You'll need to cancel and re-sign up - a double whammy. Or, you can sign up with someone else for a month and come back - and that's still a crappy proposition.

    Vaya plan change rules are here,
    http://support.vaya.net.au/support/solutions/articles/85266-can-i-change-my-plan-once-i-ve-connected-

    I have been with Vaya for 6 months and liked them so much that I converted over 4 other people. The $18 plan is excellent. As for the 1MB increments: yes, it's annoying! At least go in informed about it. As a rough rule of thumb, if you're using less than 1GB at the moment, 1.5GB with Vaya should be ok.

    Customer service works best if you're not in a hurry :D I use their email ticket system and they always get back to me in 24 hours. Not fast but I'm not running a business on my phone (note: if you're running a business, pay more and go Telstra).

    They certainly aren't for everyone but for a large number of people, I would definitely reccomend Vaya. I recently bought an S5 outright for my wife and switched her from Optus to Vaya. The total savings over 24 months will be about $450. If she had a Nexus like me, it would be even more savings :)

    Got both my parents on Vaya. Got Dad on the $11 plan at the time (Has something like 1.5gb and $600 calls per month) and Mum is on a $15 or something ($200 calls and $500mb?? Cant remember). Neither have had problems and neither go close to their usage but have the flexibility to use more. Saves them a fortune!

    I'm on their $11 Flexicap plan, which gives you 1.5GB data a month. Fantastic value, but I don't think it's offered for new signups anymore.

    One thing to watch out for is that although social media use is "free", it still counts towards your data usage. This means that you could potentially reach your data cap if you use Facebook, etc. a lot, at which point your data access will be suspended. However at the end of the month you won't be charged for the use. This is obviously a pretty ridiculous situation, if social media use is "free" then it shouldn't count towards your data cap in the first place. I've been back and forth to Vaya to get this fixed but to no avail.

    I'm also on their old $11/mth plan with 1.5GB data and $500 of calls. Been very happy so far considering how cheap it is. Something to look out for is that they will stop all outgoing calls, texts and data usage as soon as you go over your monthly spend on any criteria. You need to ring them to get yourself going again which can be a problem if that's the only phone you've got available.

    Both my daughters have been on the $18/mth plan for over 6mths and we have found them perfect for teenagers needs. I imagine customer service wouldn't be great for this price range but its great for a budject plan.

    Never had to pay for sim at amaysim cos they know they gonna get their money every month n with five gig, i never go over. Too easy

    Note that Vaya are now billing in KB increments, not MB increments, and the article should be updated to reflect this fact.

    I only made an account here so I could warn everyone how shocking Vaya is.

    1. I was charged a total of $1,342 for my first month with vaya on an unlimited call and text plan. ALL I did was call and text.. Not even use the included data (basic old phone). Be very careful how you use your first month of the plan. They do not give you unlimited on your first month as stated.

    2. Vaya's customer service: SHIT HOUSE- ruddest indians who will put you on hold for hours. You can only cancel your account over the phone. The first time i tried to cancel my account I was put on hold for 15 minutes until I got over it and hung up. I tried calling back a few times that day but could not connect. They have a system of remembering telephone numbers of customers that are trying to cancel their account and then do not answer them.. I called back with a different number and was connected after a short wait. This has happened on numerous occasions and with friends who have used the service in the past. Someone get ACA on their ASS!

    3. if you cancel your account you will be charged! You cannot cancel your account without paying the charges
    4. if you cancel your account you will be charged for 3 more months of usage after cancelling.

    5. Piece of shit dashboard. If you want any information relating to your bill you must CALL vaya. You cannot remove any credit card or payment details online.. Again you must call, oh and don't be rude to the indians (who themselves realize how outrageous some of the policies in place are) or they will put you on the do not answer list.

    7. Save yourself the headache and financial burden and sign up with a better provider.

    Read the reviews and most importantly the contract, many customers have realized too late that vaya is a scam. straight up.

    The founders and directors of Vaya should be ashamed of themselves. You know what you are doing; it's pathetic and weak.

    Death to vaya.

    I'm also with Vaya, I've just got charged $85 on my $18 contract for apparent excess usage. However it was on the 30th May that I got my final notification saying I had finally reached my data. On their website they say they cut off your calls and data once you reach your limit now I'm looking at an $85 bill, ridiculous!

    Cannot vouch for Vaya, I was on a $14 plan for 3-ish years (1.5GB and certain amount of calling and text), out of no where they 'upgraded' my plan for me to $24. I never really noticed until a year later, they justified it with "it's a legacy plan and we have to charge $10 extra for you to keep it. But your network is upgraded to 4G now!" I don't get 4G in my area nor did I sign up for it.
    However when I accidentally went over my data they charged me my good ol' legacy 40c per MB instead of the 4c per MB that the 'new' 4g plans now offer.
    Vaya will continually give you the shit end of the stick and reem you whenever possible.
    Beware of bullshit fee's they introduce out of nowhere and their TERRIBLE customer service. They barely speak English. I called three times and escalated once to the manager, while I'm trying to negotiate some way to refund that extra $10 a month, or cut a deal to be reverted back to my old plan, or even change my plan from 40c per MB to 4c. They kept threatening me with $20 cancellation fee's, no refunding, no credit, etc, etc. They lose their patience with me after 5 minutes on the phone. No compromise on their end even after being with them for so many years.
    For shame Vaya. Stay far away. They're not worth the trouble. Shocking customer service.

    Thanks Vaya for all the great years
    I have been with Vaya since they bought out my plan with Live connected in 2013. I have since added my wife who had the sim and activation in four days. I have made 2 calls to customer service that were courteous and the problem solved. I monitor my calls and data and have never had a problem using this service all over Australia including Tasmania. The data usage tracks well with our phones. I love Vaya as it has saved me heaps of dollars without any hitches. I think some people push a plan for all its worth then scream when they have to pay for their overuse. I don't think people understand pro-rata use for the first month either. No I dont work for them yada yada. 50% data Warnings are prompt and on time every time. I just haven't had all the junk happen to me. Thanks Vaya for a cheap plan that just works. (touch wood)

    Hi I havevjust bought a 12 months vaya simm card am trouble finding the correct phone that works with it does it have to be on optus network ?

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