Telstra facing investigation over selling ‘unaffordable contracts’ to vulnerable Australians

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“The ACCC is investigating allegations involving Telstra Corporation Ltd regarding its selling practices associated with the supply of mobile phones, plans and ancillary goods and services to some vulnerable Indigenous Australian people,” the statement said.

“The assessment of the alleged conduct is ongoing, including as to any implications under the Australian Consumer Law.

This investigation needs to be extended to include all Australians and not just Indigenous Australians. To be honest I do not know why it has taken the ACCC so long to start an investigation into Telstra’s practices.

About 6 years ago I was on a prepaid plan with Vodafone $45 per month Unlimited Calls and SMS.

Telstra rang me one day while at work and talked me into signing up with Telstra instead and offered me a free phone.

I asked about the plan I was moving to and how comparable it was. It was the same price as my Vodafone plan.

2 weeks later I received the phone and a SIM, I moved my number to the Telstra SIM that I had from Vodafone for the previous 5 years.

The first month of using the phone I received a bill for $750. I rang immediately and asked how this was possible, I had not made any more calls than my usual with Vodafone the previous month.

I was then advised that I was given an amount of credit per month and anything over that would be charged quite high. So I was misled, I was originally told that the plans are the same.

I advised the Telstra customer service agent that I wish to exit the contract as I have been misled and this is not what I signed up for. The Telstra customer service agent credited my bill and then asked me to stay on for another month and if it does not work out next month to cancel.

I said but nothing has changed, of course, I’m going to go over next month, I’m going to make the exact same calls, so how are you solving my problem, they suggested increasing my per month plan to $70 per month to get more credit. I left it at that.

Next month my bill was $1500, I called Telstra again and said no this is not working and I’m cancelling. I was told I could no longer cancel as there is only a 1 month cooling off period for the contract.

I then pointed out that I called last month and was told to call back next month after seeing how things go. Telstra customer service did not care. I advised that the plan is nothing like Vodafone’s and I have been lied and misled.

I was told that I needed to pay an exit fee of $1100 plus my $1500 bill and I could not get my number back.

Telstra’s response was unacceptable, and their non-willingness to look into the recordings from the agent the prior month was a joke. They knew they were in the wrong.

I never paid this bill, as I knew this was not right. However, I still have a bad credit / unpaid debt sitting on my credit file which is not helpful. it’s stopped me from doing a lot of things.

Basically, Telstra needs to be fined to the full extent because what happened should not actually happen to anyone.

Author’s Bio
Chet Carter is an IT Professional of 22 years, but has worked with a range of businesses giving him in-depth understanding of many different industries. Chet Carter is a business owner but shares his knowledge and experience through posts like these.


I'm a product researcher at Product Reviewer. I help fellow Aussie consumers make better buying decisions.

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