Ask LH: Can My ISP Charge Me For Paying By Phone?

Ask LH: Can My ISP Charge Me For Paying By Phone?

Hey Lifehacker, I usually pay my internet account online via my ISP’s website using a credit card, and get charged a small amount for a card payment. This is detailed on the web payment page just before I commit to pay so I am aware of the charge. Today the online payment gateway was down so I paid it by phone.

There was no mention of any surcharge using the automated phone payment system. Can they legally charge me a surcharge if they don’t disclose the amount or percentage at the time I make the payment?

Charged Up

Picture: Getty Images

Dear CU,

I should insert my general I-am-not-a-lawyer statement here. I guess I just did. Any lawyer-type-readers are more than welcome to pipe up in the comments if they so choose.

Still, generally speaking, charges should be disclosed no matter what system you’re using, but the disclosure can, as far as I can ascertain, be conveyed in different ways, including in the contract you signed with your ISP.

That may well state the surcharge exists if using the telephone payment option is utilised, in order to cover their bases. That’s presuming you’re using a credit card for that telephone payment in the first place, where charges have to be reasonable and not excessive; if you’ve got reason to think that they are, it may be worth pursuing the matter with your state consumer affairs department.


Have a question you want to put to Ask Lifehacker? Send it using our [contact text=”contact form”].


  • most ISPs will accept direct debit at no surcharge or an option to BPAY the payment. Use those where possible.

  • I had an insurer who started adding such payment charges, so I called them up and cancelled, making it quite clear that that was the reason. It costs them real dollars to attract and manage new business than to pay for automated processing – and they were doing a lot more than cost recovery.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!