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2018-03-29 04:52 PM
I'm looking for some information or help. Fingers crossed.
I moved across to Optus and bought a home/internet bundle in August, 2014 on a 24 month contract. The package was for $115 dollars a month (plus my mobile). I've been happy with Optus so I continued with the service, even when I moved house in 2016, around the time of my contract ending. I spoke to Optus back then to see if I needed to upgrade my service and they said my deal was good and there was no need to start a new contract, they would continue to charge me at the lowest competitive rate. I recently called Optus to enquire about my service and found out that the deal I am on has been defunct for some time and that I am overpaying for the same service by $35 a month ($115 instead of $80) and have been since the end of 2016.
A little bit frustrated I asked why Optus didn't automatically switch me to the lower rate, which they said they would, they said they don't make changes without the consent of the account holder. I am regularly contacted by Optus about promotional deals and billing, so I asked why I wasn't contacted about this and they said they are under no obligation to contact me as changes to deals were advertised on their website and it was up to me to regularly check back.
I used the Optus customer chat service today and an Optus representative said that they understand my point of view and offered to reduce my bundle cost down to $70 a month. Instead of making me happy that I am now paying $45 a month less than I was, I find myself dwelling on the fact that I have been paying $35-$45 a month more than I should be for a very long time.
Sorry to write so much, finally my questions are: Is this a breach of Optus's Fair Trade Policy? Am I eligible for some kind of compensation from Optus for this? Or is paying several hundred dollars for a redundant package just my own fault and I should suck it up?
Thanks in advance,
2018-03-30 06:36 PM
I suspect you know the answer to your question already. First rule of spending is caveat emptor. Most of the rules are designed to stop you being being mislead about the deal you are currently on. There's never been any obligation for a company to try tell you about a better deal that you are missing out on. If Optus are providing what they promised to (and they are apparently) then you've got very little recourse.
It could be argued the statement "to charge me at the lowest competitive rate" was a misleading statement (its also a fairly wishy washy one) but I don't think you'd find it worth trying to get it enforced now.
In Optus defense their sales structure means they have customers on all sorts of individual combination plans. Its often not obvious if a new particular offer is a 'better' deal. Pay $20 less but lose the 300 minutes of international free calls? Optus do make targeted calls and offers but as a rule won't change your plan unless you request it. Should they be a bit more proactive in helping their customers save money? It would be nice but I can understand why they wouldn't want to.
As a general rule these days, ALL companies look to entice you with discount deals which then revert to being costly later on. IME any time you enter a contract you should put a note in the calander just as it expires. That way you can do a quick check on the deal and either get a better offer or go elsewhere.
2018-03-30 03:40 PM
I appreciate you taking the time to reply Peter and I understand what you're saying.
This wasn't just a better deal though, they lowered the price of the product I was paying for and allowed me to continue paying for it at a higher price. It seems awfully convenient to allow me to continue paying for the same service at an exorbitant price simply because I didn't monitor the Optus website for changes. When my contract ended and they told me I would get the most competitive rate, that surely meant that I would be paying the current amount... but I wasn't, they kept charging me the rate from four years ago.
Ths is, in the very least, an example of dodgy business practices - something small businesses would never get away with. Can you think of another business that would feel justified in over charging customers until they pointed it out to them?
I'm a long term Optus customer and I believe I should be credited with the difference between the orginial cost of the product and the new, cheaper cost from the end of my contract until now. Which is somewhere in the vicinity of $700, almost $1000 if you consider the latest price they have offered me.
I hope it doesn't seem trivial, I support a large family and that kind of money goes a long way.
When I contact Optus by phone it is a very difficult process to ask for support in this matter, you get bounced from one representative to another, hoping to find someone who cares, which is a tall order when you are talking to an international call centre.
I turned to the Optus Crowd with the same hope, to find someone who could help me.
2018-03-30 03:44 PM
Best of luck buddy!
I had a similar issue on a PREPAID data sim. Slightly different tho in that I was doing a data recharge through My Account online, to subsequently find Optus were offering additional data and 24 months expiry for the same cost if I had not recharged through My Account. When I queried this I was advised I had to cancel my existing PREPAID sim PLAN, and take out the new offer on a new PREPAID PLAN!
PREPAID PLAN? WTF. I pay for data upfront, not on a plan. Optus could not understand my point. No interest in fairness and good business ethics - just their bottom line profit.
2018-03-31 08:20 PM
I can only say what I know. Perhaps others will have better options.
FWIW Businesses are not required to point out better deals. Otherwise your Optus sales guy would have to inform you of the great deal Telstra has on the moment and you should check that out instead. Many businesses don't inform you of the best possible deal. Insurance companies routinely off a deal, after a year they jack the prices up 30% and unless you ring and query it (then you get the loyalty bonus and it goes back down again) you'll wear the cost.
I certainly don't consider $1000 trivial but its not legally Optus job to save you from making a bad deal (which is what you're asking?). The sticking point for you appears to be that a single sales guy made a comment that you'd get the 'most competetive rate'. IMO Optus are not going to refund $1000 (or anything) based on this (even if they accepted it as true).
Better companies will proactively look after their customers but don't assume you're dealing with a better company.