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Third-Party content closure for Optus Postpaid and Prepaid customers

Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
6 12 54.9K

Notice - 17/10/18


We’re undertaking a comprehensive review of customers affected by this activity and will be providing refunds to those customers affected, taking into consideration the fact that some customers may already have been refunded.


Customers that want to raise a complaint regarding a premium SMS/direct carrier billing service, please use our online complaints form →


  1. Enter your name and preferred contact method
  2. Tell us when you’d like to be contacted
  3. Please make sure you answer, “direct carrier billing,” under the question “which account are you experiencing issues with.”
  4. Leave us with a description of your issue
  5. Submit your complaint 


From 24th August 2018, you will no longer be able to purchase content from some Third Party Content Providers via your mobile bill or using your prepaid credit. 

You will still be able to purchase one-off payments such as TV voting (e.g. X Factor) and TV competitions (e.g. Eurovision and Channel 7 Sunrise Cash Cow).

You will also continue to be able to pay for subscriptions and one-off purchases via certain approved Third Party Content Providers, such as Google Play, Microsoft, Netflix and Spotify.

If you want to purchase content through a Third Party Content Provider that is not approved by Optus after 24th August 2018 you can still do so using alternative payment methods, such as PayPal or credit card payment.

If you are an Optus Mobile Broadband customer or Home Wireless Broadband customer you are not able to purchase content from any Third Party Content Provider via your mobile bill or using your prepaid credit, so you aren't impacted by this change and will need to continue to purchase content using alternative payment methods such as PayPal or credit card.


What are Third Party Content charges?

Third Party Content charges appear on your Optus bill or come out of your Prepaid credit when you subscribe to online content such as mobile games and quizzes provided by Third Party Content Providers. We’ve listened to feedback about how frustrating it can be when an unexpected Third Party Content charge appears on your Optus bill or is deducted out of your Prepaid credit and this is why we are making the changes outlined above.            

Will these changes impact how I subscribe to my video or music streaming services like Netflix, Spotify and Google Play?

If you’re an Optus Postpaid or Prepaid mobile customer, you can still subscribe to and pay for content via your Optus mobile bill or get payment deducted out of your Prepaid credit, provided the Third Party Content provider is on the list of approved providers set out below.

• Netflix
• Spotify
• Microsoft and Xbox store
• Google Play (Post-paid customers only)
• Fetch
• Optus Sports
• One-time third party purchases (e.g. TV voting and competitions)
• Other Optus content



If you’re an Optus Postpaid or Prepaid mobile customer but the Third Party content provider is not on the above list of approved providers, then you are not able to charge one-off or subscription purchases to your Optus bill or have them come out of your Prepaid credit.  You will need to purchase such content using other payment methods provided by the Third Party Content provider, such as PayPal or credit card payment.

If you’re an Optus Mobile Broadband or Home Wireless Broadband customer, then you are not currently able to charge any one-off and subscription purchases from any Third Party Content Providers to your Optus bill or have them come out of your Prepaid credit, (including Netflix, Spotify and Google Play and other one-off third party purchases). They can be purchased using other payment methods provided by the Third Party Content Providers, such as PayPal or credit card payment.


Since some of my content can no longer be charged to my Optus bill or deducted out of my Prepaid credit, can I pay for it in other ways?

Yes, each Third Party Content Provider provides a range of payment options for you to utilise, such as PayPal and credit card payment. You should contact the relevant Third Party Content Provider to understand alternative payment options if you wish to continue receiving the relevant content after 23rd August 2018.


Will I still be able to enter competitions and have those charged to my Optus bill or deducted out of my Prepaid credit?

Yes. If you’re an Optus Postpaid or Prepaid mobile customer, you can still have one-off third party purchases to some Third Party Content Providers, TV voting and competitions. charged to your Optus bill or deduced out of your Prepaid credit.

If you’re an Optus Mobile Broadband or Home Wireless Broadband customer, then you are not currently able to have these kind of one-off third party purchases charged to your Optus bill or have them come out of your Prepaid credit, so you will need to use other payment methods provided by the Third Party Content Providers, such as PayPal or credit card payment.

If you have any questions, please comment below 🙂



New Contributor
New Contributor

Finally we have some action on this! It's a little too late for some of us. I have been scammed out of $434.95 due to Optus allowing fraudulous 3rd party content to be charged to their customers. I have been offered only a partial refund from Optus of $72.95 out of the $434.95 that was stolen from me. Not good enough Optus! I will be finding a new provider! 

Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

So what was the exact same announcement four months ago? Optus made it quite clear that "some" premium SMS providers would no longer be accepted. Now we have to wait yet another month before these "services" are actually barred?


Why is Optus barring these particular services? Have they done something wrong? Are they doing something wrong? Why is Optus allowing these services to continue to operate months and months after they have been identified as undesirable?


@karen78 The ACCC recently found Telstra's acceptance of any and all charges was unconscionable. There's a few $10s of millions in fines and Telstra are refunding the fees to anyone that actually complained. So hopefully you will get your outstanding $350 or so back eventually.


From the Optus FAQ,  "An opt-out option is available in the confirmation and a reminder test is sent when you subscribe to third party content" and yet this is patently unrealistic. Yes Premium SMS scammers are legaly required to provide these options but they haven't for over a decade. And Optus hasn't checked if they have for over a decade. Its a bit like the police saying "It's illegal to rob banks, so we can't explain why this guy has $500,000 in cash lying around but obviously he can't have robbed a bank." 


I really hope that the ACCC applies the maximum possible penalty in this case (!0% of annual revenue). A ~$billion dollar fine might actually make Optus and other companies think twice 


Peter Gillespie

Occasional Visitor
Occasional Visitor

I'm curious if Boku is considered as a "One-time third party purchases" provider. I usually use my extra credit to purchase things online via Boku, and am worried that I will not be able to use that anymore once 24th August 2018 comes.


This same post was also posted on the 19th Dec 2017 and I thought Boku was safe from that changes. I hope it's the same thing for this one too.

New Contributor
New Contributor

Why are you limiting what we can use our credit for? We should be able to use the credit however we want!

I get that maybe recurring subscriptions (without approving each cycle) may be confusing to some; but WHAT ABOUT one off purchases deducted using prepaid credit? 

Can I still make purchases by deducting prepaid credit when the tranaction has to be approved by me and IS not a SUBSCRIPTION? 

Because subscriptions IMPLIES its recurring!

Man Mad

What about Premium SMS based purchases?

I get it might make sense on post paid plans where its an EXTRA charge, BUT I SHOULD BE ABLE TO USE MY PREPAID credit however I WANT!

What if you WANT to pay for those services using credit? 

THEY DON'T COST me any MORE because I would have UNUSED CREDIT ANYWAY!!!


I was FINE with you cutting off UNLIMITED 'social' media access (Optus Prepaid Social 4G Ready) and forcing people to go onto 'Optus Prepaid Supercharge' PLAN. The social media landscape has changed since those plans were first introduced and I GET that the original scope of the selected sites with unlimited access no longer makes sense.


You got extra data to compensate for it and still had the prepaid credit so that was a fair deal. Those sites never used much data anyway and now you get data to use for anything.


BUT THIS is just a GREEDY money grab. Cat Mad


Paying for content using PREPAID CREDIT does not COST me ANY MORE than a monthly recharge.

FOR USERS who are paying for context WILLINGLY this is a SHAM. 

Paying using other payment methods will mean YOU HAVE TO PAY MORE for those CONTENT and the PREPAID RECHARGE.


It's clear that this is a shameless, GREEDY, selfish act in the name of PROFITS! 


OPTUS, YOU ARE SCAMMING US OUT OF using our CREDIT. The credit is OURS and we should be able to use it HOWEVER WE WANT! 

Paying for my recharge and then using most of the recharge value to purchase content SHOULD NOT BE A CRIME. 


GREEDY money bags just wants to take away the FREEDOM for using credit, BECAUSE APPARENTLY they think using credit is BAD and YOU can't spend that ANYMORE because THEY (OPTUS) can't AFFORD to Pay for content deducted from credit when I am the one paying FOR the credit AND so I should be able to use the CREDIT I paid for to PURCHASE content THAT I KNOW is being deducted from my credit.


Sure some providers may charge you without asking BUT WHAT IF I KNOW I am BEING CHARGED and WANT to purchase that content.


LIKE I SAID all a SCAM from optus because ALL THE OTHER THINGS credit can NOW be used for after this CLEARLY costs them LESS. Sure you can use credit for MMS, roaming and international calls. BUT HOW little does it really cost THEM (OPTUS) to offer those? Nothing compare to what they charge you for it! BUT oh wait, how much does content cost? That's right EXACTLY AS MUCH as they are charging/deducting you! They just want us to pay for content with MORE money out of our pockets and keep all the change from us not using credit in their overfilled pockets!


Now you want to tell us what we can and can't use the credit on?


Credit is credit, WE DESERVE FREEDOM!


I get secure payments should be a THING BUT MAKE CONTENT PURCHASES OPT-IN not UNAVAILABLE.

LET THOSE WHO KNOW what they are using credit for CONTINUE what we are doing.

Retired Employee
Retired Employee

The Changes to our Premium services offering blog posted in August is a bit different.

Essentially, we'd suspended certain "Subscription-based Third-Party Content purchases. 

@petergdownload, you might have noticed a sudden shift in the enquires we received.

Instead of customers receiving recurring subscription based charges, customers were receiving one-off Premium Content charges from certain Third-Party content providers.


We've now completely removed the ability to purchase third party content from non-approved content providers. For an approved list of providers, please see the list we've posted above.


That doesn't mean you can't purchase content from non-approved providers at all. We just won’t allow you to be billed by Optus for these types of purchases. Third Party Content Provider provides a range of payment options for you to utilise, such as PayPal and credit card payment.


@Asa_Boy, I'll need to get back to you on that one. I'm really not sure at this stage. 






Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor



Wow, Optus really can't win here it seems. Believe me that Optus would love nothing more than to keep charging for premium content etc. Its an extremely lucratve sideline for them but like the gampbling industry (for example) is largely based on turning a blind eye to the many victims of the scheme. As I said, Telstra has recently been fined $10s of millions for their part in Premium SMS fraud and I've no doubt other Telcos will be tapped on the shoulder in due course. Locking down the Premium SMS cess pit is the simplest way to protect customers. 


Personally I would suggest all Optus really need to do is set everyones Premium SMS limit to a default of $0. Anyone who wants to risk being scammed can then decide to raise that limit themselves.


I can't speak to the "credit" people get at Optus. I'd put it in the same vein as Flybuys, Credit Card Points, Loyalty Cards etc in that it usually ends up costing people more than any percieved saving. Its also an area designed to extract extra money from customers and subject to change based on the whims of the provider. 


@Dan_C I hadn't noticed the change (although I did just recieve a random SMS yesterday to type a code into the XBox/Google Store to confirm charges for great new content) Seems the scammers adapted as fast as they can be expected to. Surpising that Optus has move reasonably swiftly to block the new move and I applaud that then.


Peter Gillespie

New Contributor
New Contributor



You don't seem to understand how PREPAID CREDIT works.

(Old plan from sensible days)Read More Here

If you recharge $X you get $X credit to spend however you want.

The new prepaid plans have much less credit but without packs INTERNATIONAL CALLS and ROAMING is charged at the same rate WHICH is much higher than what it costs them (next to nothing).

Current situation:

  1. Recharge $30 and get usual plan and $30 credit to spend however I like.
  2. Use credit to Purchase $30 of content
  3. Total Spend: $30 for Both recharge and contents

New situation:

  1. Recharge $30 and get usual plan and $30 credit that I can't use HOW I WANT.
  2. Spend ANOTHER $30 on content
  3. Total Spend: $30 on recharge and $30 on content - $60 Total

Now I have to spend DOUBLE just to have both recharge and content.

Postpaid plans don't have credit and content will cost the same anyway, but I am talking about prepaid.

They are NOT CHARGING for PREMIUM CONTENT and getting EXTRA cash from customer. 

It is US using CREDIT to PAY for CONTENT WILLINGLY without paying BOTH the cost of the CONTENT and the RECHARGE.

It is just a GREEDY money making move to make US PAY for both the PLAN and CONTENT.

They CLEARLY don't like us TAKING money from they overfilled pockets by using credit to PAY for content.

THIS MOVE DOESN'T Make sense on PREPAID because THEY are GREEDY and want more money in THEIR pockets. 

Sure using credit for content purchases may not be the best value BUT you DON'T PAY any more than what you PAY for 'just' the plan anyway. BUT oh, they want to keep their money because even If you use credit for anything ELSE, it would not cost them a FRACTION of what it COSTS for THEM to FORWARD money from Premium purchases BECAUSE that costs EXACTLY as much as what the CONTENT costs. $30 content costs them $30 and they just want an EXCUSE to keep MONEY in their POCKETS!

$30 of internation calls/roaming costs them MUCH MUCH LESS and even then NO new plans offer CLOSE to 1:1 or even 2:1 credit for recharge. WITHOUT being able to purchase Premium Content, what LITTLE time that credit can afford costs them NEXT to nothing AND they would just want us to buy more Travel packs and whatnot AND Premium content ON TOP OF THAT.



Occasional Visitor
Occasional Visitor

Been a customer for 25 yrs and have argued black and blue with Optus about charges. They will find a way to rip us off still


Hi all, I have been getting a few notifications via the site lately and I find it a little difficult to understand the timelines of the posts but it seems the Optus scam goes on. This was supposed to finish in January but I am reading it that it is still happening. I battled Optus for 6 months over scam charges and refused to pay any charges, end result is I cancelled the contract and sent their phone back to them and I am happily Optus free now. Your best friend with this is the TIO, you will not believe how fast Optus contact you to cancel all scam charges once you contact the TIO and you are in the drivers seat. This is an easy fight to win as far as unauthorised third party charges go, do not accept the contact the third party provider proposition or the set your third party limit to zero....that's not your problem.....simply don't pay the third party charges component of your bill. My battle ended months ago but I am fine to help others with how I did it if that can help other victims......Ron Grant

Retired Employee
Retired Employee

Hi again@Ron66, it can be a bit diffuclt to keep up.

I've tried to explain the difference between the two bits of communication in my post above.

If you do have any questions or concerns, let us know and we'll do our best to help.


@BellzBellz, specifically around premium content charges or something else? If you need a hand, you're welcome to send us a private message with your details




Hi Dan, hope you are well. Have been getting messages from the latest round of victims who are confused and concerned about this scam. I sent you guys back your handset a few months ago and no more Optus for me, but I am concerned about customers who will still fall prey for this scam and don't know what to do, so I am inclined to reach out to them. God knows I learnt over some months what to do....Ron Grant

New Contributor
New Contributor

As a customer who has experienced a third party scam charge thru an accidental click on a link I am pleased to see that Optus are responding to feedback and stopping unethical businesses from bogus charges. I dealt with Optus to get my $15.00 back and received the refund as promised within the time frame promised. Well done Optus.