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New Contributor HexNZ
New Contributor

Constantly being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

Hi Optus,


I am having a serious issue with my account billing and data usage. Our plan allows for 100 GB of data + FREE Netflix and Spotify traffic for $70 a month.

Tonight we came close to using our 100 GB (we got a notification) and decided to watch Netflix rather Twitch / Youtube because we get Netflix as FREE data. I have the DATA ONLY SIM in my OPPO, we also have a Huawei b315s 4G modem, but did not use the modem in this instance.

Because I ran into the same issue / error last month, where we were charged with a huge bill of $170 for going over our datacap ($10 per 1gb). I was very carefully monitoring the usage by capping my phone (That was setup as an Hotspot to stop at 5GB each time, I didn't want this happening again. You can think of it as an experiment into "Im sure we are still being charged for Netflix Data".

After watching Netflix I have shockingly found our data plan had an extra 19GB added to it, billing us for an addtional $190+ for overusage tonight! The OPPO phone that was providing the AP stated that 19gb had been indeed used, matching with the Optus overusage. Thats a whooping $220 this month!

Things to note.
1. The OPPO R15 that provided the Hotspot had 1 device connected to it, the Netflix PC.
2. The PC had no downloads, no updates or any other streams. This was made sure of.
3. It is a DATA ONLY SIM, my OPPO holds dual sim slots.
4. We also have a Huawei b315s 4G modem that we use when a phone is not available (You put the data only SIM in it, same one in the phone)
5. There is NO difference putting a 4G Sim Card into a 4G Modem than putting it into a 4G smart phone.
6. We have been using the same SIM in this phone and Huawei Modem, setting up a Mobile Hotspot / WIFI for the past 2 years.

We have had this issue twice  in the past, (same situation, close to 100% usage). Once again there is NO difference putting a 4G Data Only Sim Card into a unlocked 4G Modem than into a 4G smart phone, don't let someone tell you otherwise. Its all a 'Hotspot'.

Anyway after the entire season of Stranger Things! I checked my email and had 3 emails from Optus stating 3 gb was added (1gb lots). I assumed that this was generic internet traffic, thus Netflix was not being charged. Good I thought. Then I logged in and saw the actual usage &^%$!

I promptly got on Live Chat and explained my situation to the support person, but she said she couldn't help and to call in the morning. After spending 40 mins with them, I ended the chat. Checked internet logs in the Netflix PC (All data was Netflix). Then found in my email 20 overusage notifications spammed my inbox, 30 mins after I started the support call with Optus.

What I think is happening is once your data plan hits 100% Netflix is no longer free. Can you confirm this OPTUS because it definately looks this way?

Going forward, how about you disconnect the internet when you go over your usage like everyone else e.g. TELSTRA, OVO, VODA etc... rather than slip in a sneaky $10 per 1GB charge again and again and again, but delay the notifications to the customer. This is crazy!

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9 Replies
Esteemed Contributor
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Constantly being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

Lots of dispirate threads there @HexNZ . I'll throw out various thoughts and comments starting with your last question:

 

1. No, Optus don't turn off free data when you go over your limit.

2. Probably don't bother trying to sort data issues out until you recieve an actual (monthly) bill. Optus staff generally can't do anything until a bill has been raised.

3. Optus data reporting can be very variable (from 15 minutes to two days after the fact). So you might have gone well over your limit when you recieved your first SMS stating you were getting close. Subsequent SMS can come at random times and all in one hit - basically, don't rely on the Optus data reporting.

4. The data usage brakdown will still show all data used (free and charged). Only the overall data used figure (headline number) shows the data charged only.

5. As to what may have happened, Optus have requirements to get the free data (I'm not 100% sure on the makeup):

a) The device used (casting to a second device (i.e. TV) can make it no longer free.

b) The quality - Only SD Netflix is free (I'm actually guessing this is where you tripped up since 19Gb suggests you watched the season in HD)

 

Agree completely that Optus should do the right thing and give people proper control of their data usage. If you go prepaid Optus can apparently monitor your usage to the kB and cut it off within seconds of going over your limit. Postpaid apparently is only +/- 48 hours. These days where watching couple of 4K movies can now cost you $190 or more needs a much better responce than "Ooops". Telstra has recently taken to shaping data to 256k if you exceed your limit. You can buy extra data packs anytime optionally, not get charged $100's for data you would never voluntarily pay that much for.

 

Peter Gillespie

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Respected Contributor
Respected Contributor

Re: Constantly being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

Optus' official stance on data free usage (Netflix, Spotify, Stan, etc) is that it's for your mobile device only. Hotspotting your postpaid mobile service to a laptop, chromecast or anything else will in turn cause your data to be rated. 

 

Whether this happens all of the time or some of the time, only means you're receiving a "bonus" of sorts when it doesn't count but doesn't give you reason to object when it does count towards your download quota as it's how it's supposed to be. If you refer here at the bottom of the page you'll see important info that reads:

 

The Mobile TV Streaming option is available on a month to month basis & does not form part of your plan.  Charges may apply depending upon the plan you choose.  Optus may change or withdraw a streaming partner at any time with prior notice.  Offline video downloads, mobile & mobile broadband WiFi hotspots, streaming on TVs (such as Chromecast & Apple TV and the like), associated traffic other such as ads, authentication, app analytics and Digital Rights Management are excluded and will incur data charges.

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I do not represent Optus. The views, opinions and advice expressed in my posts are my own
New Contributor HexNZ
New Contributor

Being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

For the past 18 months we have had the 100GB + FREE Netflix / Spotify plan for $70 a month.

My partner and I travel all over Australia for work, so we needed a good value internet choice and good phone reception. Unfortunately, you can't have both (Telstra VS Optus).

We both have OPPO phones with Dual SIMs. Mine carries the OPTUS SIM (100Gb Plan) and a TELSTRA SIM. OPTUS for internet, TELSTRA for phone calls.

We were told you cannot use the 2 SIMS at the same time (by Optus Shop Staff), but after a firmware upgrade and hours of research. We can now operate the OPTUS SIM on the 4G network and take calls simultaneously on the TELSTRA 3G network. FYI, now-days this is much easier on the OPPO's, but back in 2017 it was tricky.

We have dual mITX PC's that connect to the Mobile Hotspot provided by the Phone OR Modem, we have been doing this since the 2nd month of our plan. Because who on earth watches NETflix with the family on a 3"x 2" screen?!

Early 2018 we found when I went to work, we needed a way of keeping the 100GB available to both of us. We went to the Optus store again and told them we wanted a modem that we could put our Data Only SIM into and connect our PC's to said router (Huawei b315s). OPTUS Staff said you cant do this because the modem would be on a different 4G mobile frequency to what our phones used and it will not work.

I was skeptical at this and purchased a Huawei b315s (The exact same modem, latest firmware, unlocked and discounted) from PC Case Gear. I plugged my OPTUS 4G SIM into the modem, configured it and 'voolaa', we had high speed 4G internet and thats what we have been using for the past 16 months all around Australia.

Regarding the previous comment, for the past 18 months we have been watching FREE Netflix and using our OPTUS Data and every month landing exactly on 100% usage or never exceeding it. Thus not going anywhere near blowing out our plan by $100's of dollars.

Telling me after 18 months that what we have been doing was impossible on the Optus network, I am finding this hard to believe, wouldn't you?

Something has changed, I will be calling them shortly.

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Esteemed Contributor
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

I wish you good luck but I'd agree with @SamSam that you appear to have been getting a benefit that Optus never intended you to have. It sounds like staff have been consistent in telling you this. Hats off you managed to find a work around for so long. 

 

Its possible is that what has changed is that optus finally got around to implimenting some security / tracking code. Either way I can only assume any staff you contact now will tell you the same thing - you are using the equipment contrary to how it is allowed and so Netflix won't be free. However you obviously like to not stop at first solutions so good luck again and let us know if you managed to restore your free viewing setup.

 

Peter Gillespie

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Respected Contributor
Respected Contributor

Re: Being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

You've definitely been provided poor information previously (especially about the 4G modem!) so I can understand your scepticism. 

 

To be clear, what I was trying to say is that Optus' stance has always been that you should not receive data free streaming when you hotspot. Now if by some Optus error you were, them correcting it now and aligning everything with what they've always said doesn't mean you're still entitled to it because you never were. It's a very bad customer experience and has definitely set the wrong expectations for customers but if you look at it the other way, you've been receiving data free Netflix for the last 18 months when you shouldn't have which is a nice bonus. 

 

Unless something else has changed to do with other usage, I agree something has changed and I'd suspect it's on Optus' end to correct this.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I do not represent Optus. The views, opinions and advice expressed in my posts are my own
Esteemed Contributor
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

Adding my 2 cents to the conversation what Sam is saying sounds correct. If I take my sim out of my tablet and put it in my modem I get charged for Netflix data. If put the sim back in my tablet and use the Netflix app there is no data charges.

New Contributor HexNZ
New Contributor

Re: Being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

Thanks for the prompt input guys.

The account resets in 4 days, I will do a further test next month and monitor the usage, just to confirm what is and isn't being classed as 'actual usage' in my weird situation.


That way when the bill does get issued, I can 100% see how this has occured and promptly correct it. I am surprised no one else has complained about this, as being told "that it is impossible to do" by an Optus Staff member and how easy this is to do. Then calling Optus to double check we are not being charged AND using that setup for 18 months without fail until last night.

Hopefully you can see where my frustration is coming from. It does suck when you fall into a loop hole and you don't know your in are actully in the loop hole...

Esteemed Contributor
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

I once managed to not get an electricity bill for 18 months because of a system glitch (I just pay bills the day i get them so didn't actually notice the abscence of the bill). Month 19 they sent me one for $4000+. Fortunately there's a law restricting how far back utilities can backdate charges so I ended up paying only $1200. But it was nice while it lasted even though I didn't know.

 

Peter Gillespie

Esteemed Contributor
Esteemed Contributor

Re: Being charged for "FREE Netflix data usage". $220+ tonight!

Reminds me of my year of unlimited 4G Telstra data. Sometimes the glitches work both ways Smiley LOL

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