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Another mobile bill shock ($350)

[ Edited ]
petergdownload

Just posting these here in the hope someone at Optus might review the 150 automatic top ups that Optus provides no way to stop. 

 

If the system is working then most users will knowingly exceed their limit by a Gb or three and decide to turn off data etc. around there. But if the system fails the user can face up to $1500 of 'bonus' charges - can Optus point to a single person in the country that might be happy with that arrangement?

 

In the latest case, a user streaming Netflix found out later that it had upped the stream quality to  4k ultra definition (Netflix does this automatically and without warning if the bandwidth allows it). So at 7Gb an hour they quickly burned through 4 times their monthly allowance (and $350). Not a happy customer!

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

 

Re: Another mobile bill shock ($350)

SamSam

What's your definition of working and failing when it comes to the system? The user receiving the warning message or being shut off completely?

 

Netflix does up the quality automatically but also give you the option to stop this to. That said though, $350 in a month would definitely not be great. I reckon you'll get the standard line of "it's up to you to monitor your data usage" and probably won't receive anything or possibly a good will gesture towards it.

 

I think the cusotmer does need to take some responsibility because they used it but at the same time, the usage alert system from Optus needs a LOT of work to.

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

Re: Another mobile bill shock ($350)

petergdownload

Failing is when things like the usage warnings don't come fast enough, or at all. Or when a users phone is stolen/hacked and the data is maliciously downloaded. 

 

I agree users do have a degree of responsibility, but that Optus is essentially setting them up to be stung. Why not set the top up limit to say 5 times? The user can then call if they want to top up for another 145. Why not provide a simple option for users to just say they don't expensive bonus data upfront? If they do they will log in and manually request it? Why set the premium SMS limit to $200 by default opeing the user up to SMS scams (off topic I know but goes to a pattern) 

 

Sure we all keep trying to do the right thing and prevent things going pear shaped, but when your RSP is setting you up to fail from the get go, instead of putting in place sensible limits its almost impossible to cover all bases.

 

I just don't know why Optus think REALLY stinging their customers for a misstep is good business.

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

Re: Another mobile bill shock ($350)

SamSam

Yeah I get what you mean or tend to agree as well. Getting a $50 higher bill then expected is better then $100's or $1000's. And for those who would be annoyed by the 5 top up limit (or whatever limit really) there'd be a hundred more people who were greatful I'd say.

 

I also feel like other companies could step up to. In this case Netflix. They know if you're using mobile data to stream their service and they know the quality to. Maybe it's just me but who needs to watch a show in UHD on your mobile? Netflix could limit that or even have a warning to say that this is going to chew up a lot of data and we know you're on your mobile type thing.

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

Re: Another mobile bill shock ($350)

petergdownload

Things have moved quickly in mobile territory. 20+ Gb monthly plans and 4G speeds are becoming the new norm.A year or two ago there really wasn't anything you could accidentally download at the rate of 7Gb and hour (except maybe Apple syncronising everything to your phone). There were some natural buffers in place to make it to go completely haywire with downloads (although back then they charged 20c per Mb when you wen over your limit = $450 - coincidence?)

 

Agree Netflix need to help customers better manage and be aware of download rates. Setting a global max quality isn't really an answer as I might want SD on my phone and UHD on my TV. IMO you could just have the user just set a monthly cap that triggers an on screen popup ("Warning - You have used 20Gb this month so far.") . Netflix know how much data you've consumed to the kb. And since the device consuming the data is being watched by definition then the warning gets seen when it is needed most.

 

But the cynic in me says these obvious settings aren't in place because the companies prefer less control than more for customers - Apple still haven't implimented a simple data limit on their phones like Android have had for 5 + years.

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

Re: Another mobile bill shock ($350)

Marie

Hey @peterdownload & @SamSam Smiley Happy 

 

I'll certainly be passing your feedback on.

 

Currently our usage alerts can take up to 4 hours to come through after data has been used. 


We are working on a new billing system which we'll be using to address some of these issues.

 

We're hoping to have a much closer to live experience in both the My Optus App and My Account for data usage.

 

We don't currently have nor is it something I'm aware of being available with the new system to restrict data top ups.

 

As Peter had mentioned in the past we did charge 20 cents per MB for additional data usage, we moved away from this to increase our customers experience. We do recommend customers make them selves familiar with the type of data that their apps use as each app can vary.

 

Androids allow customers to view their data usage down the day, with iPhones you can reset your data usage to view which apps are using what data.

 

We also have the facility to see where customers use their data upon request however there are some limitations as not all data usage can be classified using this system.

 

Certainly if customers do find additional data usage they need assistance with their welcome to PM any of the Optus moderators and we'd love to help out.


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Re: Another mobile bill shock ($350)

[ Edited ]
petergdownload

@Marie, Thanks for the response. I appreciate the time moderators take to answer extended 'questions' Smiley Happy

 

Optus currently (arbitarily) sets monthly 'bonus' data to 150Gb (for $1500) . The past system of applying 20c per Mb also capped data, as did the period where Optus temporarily bumped users to the next data tier up on their plan (you could do that 3 times I believe). So technically there's really no impediment to Optus providing customers control over data usage. 

 

And having control over data usage would have to rate as one of (if not the) the top 3 things all mobile customers want. Yes Optus have provided options that help monitor your usage, but the systems are unreliable and often involve a fair degree of technical know how to setup not to mention constant vigilance. They also don't cover technical meltdowns or people using your data without permission. Ironically the new 'free data' approach (admirable BTW) also stuffs up trying to monitor data usage on your mobile.

 

So Optus have the means and the customers have the desire. Bill shock was (is?) a very integral part of the Telco business model. When Optus dropped its 20c per Mb approach, the Optus CEO announced that this would be a big hit to underlying profitability. I guess I'm just naive and would prefer Optus set a reasonable cap on data blowouts (IMO 5 sounds good?) and let users that are happy to buy data at $10 per Gb contact Optus and request it up front.

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

Re: Another mobile bill shock ($350)

[ Edited ]
Tom020

I've experienced the same thing recently, and although my bill wasn't quite as high, its pretty clear that even if optus lives up to its stated 48 hour possible delays for data usage updates, you could easily exceed your data by up to around 40gb or so and finally receive the messages and alerts after their system gets itself in order and updates your usage.

 

Imagine that... under the contract you sign with Optus, you could incur charges in the thousands potentially, all because Optus's system goes slow for a couple days... and this DOES happen.

 

I'm currently going through the TIO to recover fees that I was charged when I never received text alerts until I was over 100% usage.
Optus told me that its my fault for using data "in a very short period of time", but their idea of a short period of time, is anywhere between 4-48 hours.

My argument here is:
1. While I signed a contract which states "I accept that usage alerts may be delayed by up to 48 hours", it does not state that I should be held liable for fees incurred because optus has taken longer than normal to update the usage statistics.

 2. I do not believe that under QLD "unfair contracts" law, such an agreement would be enforcable (basically if optus fails, you pay up) because it puts you as a party in the contract at significant disadvantage to live up to your end of the contract.

We used to be able to perhaps use our own device's settings to turn off data when we reach a certain usage level (using phone data usage estimates instead of YES Optus), so that just in case Optus did fail, your phone would save you and cut off the mobile data.
But now, because they provide this free data streaming for google play and spotify, if you set a limit, your phone will cut you off long before you actually exceed your optus data limit.

Re: Another mobile bill shock ($350)

petergdownload

I agree the free data does muck up the on phone monitoring. If you're a heavy Netflix / Spotify User you almost have to do yourself out of the paid data to get the free data! I suspect though that was a completely unintended consequence of the offering.

 

IMO The whole concept of 'excess data' is pretty ludicrious these days. Why your first 20 Gb of data should cost $40 and your next 4Gb of data cost $40 is unrelated to anything other than Optus trying to limit overall data usage on its network. Its like the old bank fees of $50 went you went $1 over your credit balance. Completely disproportional to the actual cost (to the bank) of managing that -$1. BTW it also came very close to being found illegal and since the lawsuits the banks have all dropped overdraft fees considerably.

 

If Optus need to manage network usage then either give us the tools to do it (a simple option to stop auto top ups would do it), or just shape user speeds like landline plans generally are. If Optus wants to gouge (their own) unlucky customers then I guess the current arrangement should remain.

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie 

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