Tuesday, 29 August 2017 12:20

ACCAN pressures Optus to ban third-party charges Featured

By
Teresa Corbin, ACCAN Teresa Corbin, ACCAN

Telecommunications consumer interest group ACCAN is pressuring Optus to follow Telstra and Vodafone and ban third-party mobile subscriptions.

While welcoming Telstra’s decision to no longer offer third party mobile subscriptions, ACCAN boss Teresa Corbin says “consumers have had to put up with these unexpected charges far too long".

As reported by iTWire yesterday, a senior Telstra official confirmed that Australia’s largest carrier would cease “third-party billing” on its post-paid accounts by early December this year. And, Vodafone stopped offering premium SMS subscriptions in September 2015 and since that time has only allowed premium SMS to be used for one-off charging.

Corbin also reiterated ACCAN’s recent survey which found that as many as 1.9 million consumers across Australia have found unexpected third-party charges on their phone bills in the previous six months.

“We congratulate Telstra on stepping up and taking action to stop their customers from getting slugged by unwanted third party subscriptions,” said Corbin.

“While this is a welcome move, ACCAN is calling for stricter regulation on third-party billing because so many consumers are getting caught out.

“Telstra and Vodafone customers could still get stung by one-off third-party charges. This is particularly concerning as many consumers are unaware that their mobile accounts can be used in this way.

“Our survey found that there is a significant lack of awareness amongst consumers with just under 50 per cent of respondents being aware that they could have third-party services charged to their phone bills.

“The way the system is set up, consumers have to opt-out of these services otherwise their phone is like an unsecured credit card and people have no idea what they’re being charged for.

“Consumers should remain vigilant and look out for any unexpected text messages they receive about third party services. They should reply STOP to any text messages they are unsure about and regularly check their bills for any unexpected charges.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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