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Compensation for billing errors?

SfynX

After my Huwei Nexus 6P became unusable with 4 months of the 24 month contract to go, I decided to upgrade to a new mobile phone.  I ended up getting the Sony Xperia XZ Premium from the Woden (ACT) Optus store in October.  While instore I spoke with staff member Josh, who appeared to be completely competent and explained everything to me to my satisfaction.  The important facts were:

  • I kept my old Nexus 6P.  New phone was the Xperia XZ Premium.
  • Changed plans from "$80 My Plan Plus" (8GB) to "$85 My Plan Plus" (10GB).
  • I was offered an Ultimate Ears Boom 2 speaker for $240 to be paid over the 24 month contract (at $10 per month)
  • There was no "Early Upgrade Fee" since I was paying off the old phone (for the remaining few months) 


Josh explained that my 1st bill should be approximately $145 (being for the new phone/plan plus a third of what was owed on the old phone).

 

My 1st bill (in November) was for $441.18.

 

 

This seems to be the normal bill plus the full $240 (for the speaker) and $65 (for Early Upgrade Fee).  Also, for some unexplainable reason, my direct debit stopped functioning from when I started the new phone contact til early January 2018.

 

I went instore to the Woden store in December 2017 and spoke to Josh and other staff members about this issue.  The issue seemed pretty obvious and should have been addressed straight away.  I signed some kind of "change of contract" form which, I assumed, would be the end of the matter.  Josh said I should call 1509 if I had any additional concerns.

 

I note that the large unpaid bill never seemed to go away from the My Optus app.  However, I wasn't too concerned as I thought that the matter was being dealt with and in a matter of time I would receive an amended bill or something similar.

 

Fast forward to 4 January 2018 (yesterday): somehow direct debit now works again and I've been slugged with $531.18.

 

Today I called the 1509 number and spoke to "Lona Juarana" for 65 agonising minutes, most of which was on hold listening to the one song on repeat.  Lona appears to be incompetent because she couldn't answer any questions without speaking to her supervisor.  Lona also seemed to think that my additional charges were due to excessive data usage (which clearly is incorrect).  At the end of the 65 utterly wasted minutes I demanded to speak to her supervisor who she called John.  She said that John was busy at the moment and said that he would call back in an hour at the most.  She must have promised that he would call back in an hour 5 times.  Of course, this never happened.  It's been 5 hours and there's no call from "John CP511664".  

 

At this point I have spent 1 hour instore plus 1 hour on hold to fix mistake(s) that Optus have made and for which I am being made to suffer.

 

I then walked 25 mins to the nearest Optus store (Tuggeranong, ACT) in 33C degree heat to try to get my money back.  There I spoke to Taylor who, like Josh, seemed to recognise and understand the situation and, at first, said that I had to go to the Woden store to resolve things (as they had my contract).  I suggested that he could perhaps try telephoning for the details, which he promptly did.  Long story short: it was agreed that roughly $300 had been charged to me unlawfully and needed to be paid back.

 

The next issue was when.  I told Josh that having my Optus account credited with the "missing" money is unacceptable and that I wanted to leave the store with the money in my bank account or my wallet.  I then spent about 30 minutes speaking to another call centre staff member who told me that my only option was having the funds placed into my Optus account (which takes 24 hours at least, she said) then transferred back into my own bank account (which takes around 5 business days, according to her).

 

This means that the $300 (approx.) that Optus took from my account unlawfully will not be given back to me for roughly one week.  This is completely unacceptable.

 

I pleaded with both the call centre staff member and the Tuggeranong store staff members about this and they both basically said that there was nothing that they could do.  I accept that people make mistakes, but when the billing area or the store knew that I was owed money, they should have paid me back immediately.

 

Finally, it seems odd that I've never been offered anything in compensation from Optus even though they currently owe me $300 (approx.), and I have had to visit stores twice plus waste my time on fruitless call centre calls.

 

I would be extremely reluctant to recommend Optus to anyone.  Based on my experience, it would appear that (a) there is incompetence within the billing area, (b) there is incompetence in the call centre staff and (c) there is an unwillingness or technical barrier to obtaining refunds from stores even when they agree that money is owed to you.  Another thing that strikes me is that Optus do not appear to be too concerned with punishing the customer for THEIR own failures.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries.

 

 

 

 

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