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Discriminated against due to being a 41 year old student

I applied online for a mobile phone service with Optus that provided a 10% discount to people within Australia who are enrolled University students. I am studying part-time at Charles Sturt University and would be eligible for this offer.


I received an email after I made the order asking me to call Optus to discuss it further. I was unable to make a call so I went to the Optus retail shop at my local shopping centre and asked them to help me, which they could not.


They got me to use their phone to ring Optus, which I did. I was then told by the salesperson on the phone that my order was declined. I enquired with him why I was declined and he then asked me what age I was.


I was unsure why he asked me this but I told him I was 41 years old. He then stated that due to my age I was being declined. I asked him to please confirm I had heard correctly and that I was being declined because I was 41 years old and he confirmed that.


I told him that was unacceptable as there was nothing in the terms and conditions to say that for one and therefore he was breaking the law by declining me on the basis of age. I asked him to please tell me where in the T&C's that there was an age restriction. He was unable to provide this information. I asked again for him to tell me where there was any reference to there being an age limit as I did not believe there was one.


The sales person told me I would need to speak to another person about that and there would be a 20-minute wait. At that stage, I got very angry and hung up the phone.


I spoke to the salesperson within the shop who told me they would take it to their team leader who was out the back of the shop. He then came back to me and told me that his team leader was unsure what to do as they are separate to the sales team and just provide retail services.


I have since been told by another salesperson that it is because there was an issue with my credit, which I am following up as there should not be but if there is, that is a legitimate reason to be declined!! However, it does not absolve or make it better that the first person asked me my age and then told me it was declined because I was 41!!! It seems that there is some issue with your salespeople that they believe a woman of 41 cannot be at University??? 


After all this, all I am really trying to decide is who do I complain to Fair trading or anti-discrimination commision??


Trying to have this sorted on chat and other avenues is beyond ridiculous....... the replies I am getting are not even acknowledging that this is against the law!! I am sick to death of wasting my life with this stuff, how on earth do you continue to get away with this rubbish Optus? Your customer service is horrendous. 

2 Replies
Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Discriminated against due to being a 41 year old student



Optus phone staff can be a mixed bunch. You can get some strange answers from them sometimes (usually they're just trying to help though). It seems like the first person you got didn't know what they were doing apparently. 


FWIW Optus Store staff are not Optus. If you want to sort a plan or contract or deal etc. you need to contact Optus directly. If you want to buy a phone then the Optus store is the place to go.


The student discount can be applied any time for what its worth. You just provide a valid number and its done. 


I seems likely that there was a credit issue of some sort (as that is usually the only reason a contract might be declined). You can get your current credit rating for free (once a year) at the major rating agencies (there are a lot of people that will imply you need to pay something though)




Peter Gillespie

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Retired Employee
Retired Employee

Re: Discriminated against due to being a 41 year old student

@Beebee7, I can see that you've had a conversation with one of our consultants on FB.


The first piece of advice you've received is simply not the case. It sounds like the store rep was a bit naive. If you're actively studying and you have a valid student ID, then you're eligible for the student discount offer.


The agent wouldn't have received any information other than the fact that the credit check had been declined. We're not given any reason other than the application "did not meet Optus criteria."


You'd need to follow @petergdownload's advice and request a copy of your credit file.

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