Hey @Timmb ,
Yes the lease option defnitely "saved" $120 a year on the plan fees. This was the single "benefit" of a leasing plan. They are in quotes because that $120 meant the customer gave up a $1000 asset in return. Everyone's choice but as you seem focused on money and broken contracts these usually involve people getting less money, not more.
But leaving that aside Optus haven't changed any parameters. The terms of the contract are completely clear (and unchanged). You say the removal of the lease option "forces people to pay more per month for their next contract, or pay hundreds to purchase the phone they hold". Lets break that down.
First up the option to buy the phone at "fair market value" is just an option.
Second, All Optus lease customers are also free to finish up the contract the signed after 24 months and return the phone (another option)
The main issue (that I can see) seems to revolve around the belief in a unchanging lease that goes on forever. This is obviously not a reasonable expectation. Both lease and non lease plans are subject to pricing review as each lease expires. If you lease a car then at the end of that time you will be offered the option to buy the car, hand back the keys or to enter into a new leasing arangement for the next period. Here Optus are no different. You can buy the phone or hand it back or enter into a new agreement.
For arguements sake, if Optus had kept the "leasing" option then it would have had a revised (more expensive) price. Same as "normal" contracts have gone up in price. "Leasing" is no protection from price rises (or changes in contract terms)
I put "leasing" in inverted quotes because the term has a generally understood meaning in most industries. However at Optus leasing just means they give you a $240 discount in return for you giving them a $1000 phone. I'm thinkng the key component of any leasing plan is the ability to upgrade to a new version periodically for a small fee. This capability is in all Optus plans (leasing and non leasing) and not related to the plan description including the word "lease" in the title.
It is the end of August and im just hearing about it through this text today???
Hi, as a My Plan Flex customer with Optus, we wanted to let you know that we have stopped offering new leasing plans to customers. There is no change to your current plan, you can continue to use it as you do today, although you won't be able to Flex Upgrade to a new leasing plan. If you have any questions, see....
Optus you are disgusting sly pigs!!!
I am in my second year of leasing, so does that mean I can return the phone now and opt to move to a SIM only plan rather than continuing on a lease which isn't going anywhere any more?
Peter's efforts to answer each and every one of our posts makes it too obvious he's an employee - or paid somehow.
You don't sound like a consumer Peter. Seriously.
Quit downplaying our issues. You're not being helpful at all and just looking at things from Optus' perspective.
If you are really a consumer just "wishing to help" then just keep quiet until we receive an actual response from the proper representative. Don't flood this thread with your unofficial responses please.
Hi Lizzie, Your current options are listed here. Note that there is some confusion over the features of an Optus leasing plan. If you're concerned over the ability to upgrade to a new phone every 12-24 months then all Optus plans have this capability.
As you are in the 12-24 month part of your contract you can pay the $99 upgrade fee and select any current Optus plan and new phone (same as always). The new plans are essentially identical to your current one (all the same features). The two main differences are the price (you lose the $10 a month discount) but to offset this you have the option to keep the phone after 24 months are up. Note taking this option means you are on a new 24 month plan.
Alternatively you can wait until the 24 months are up and take up the option to either buy or hand back the phone and be free of any Optus contract (at that point you can go SIM only etc.)
People are obviously upset but it seems that much of that is due to a misunderstanding of what has actually changed. Plenty of sympathetic and similar posts here for others to enjoy a few helpfully proving links to the TIO and calls to bring in the lawyers etc.
Optus may well review their approach to the leasing based on feed back like on this thread. Announce an extension or offer cleaner/faster exit options (although I'd think those are a slim chance). Personally, I hope they don't bring them back. The Optus leasing service IMO is inherently confusing and very poor value for money. Like you, many who signed up for them no doubt had unclear understandings about the alternatives and pitfalls the plans have (consequently they feel duped).
A leasing customer would have to continue leasing for over 10 years just to break even with the the same own your own phone option. With leasing its also essential to have insurance (which at $15 more than wipes out the $10 discount anyway). And there are other downsides that I won't go into.
Lets see what Optus decide down the track. For now though some people have specific questions about the (official) options they currently have available to them. I'll help them out best I can and perhaps you can continue getting the class action together. FWIW a TIO complaint will normally take a weeks/months (and given the TIO mainly interested in Optus doing what the contract says and the contract is unchanged I'm not sure they will be much help). IMO the best suggestion so far was to use Statutory Consumer Protections which can be powerful but so far no one has framed how they might apply in this situation.
I think you have been very patient and polite replying to everyone in this thread. As you correctly point out, no-one's contract has actually changed.
The problem I have with this (apart from the appalling communication from a communications company, but I'm pretty used to that by now with Optus) is that Optus removing the leasing plans seems to be an admission that they are a blatant rip-off for the customer. As you have spelt out many times, the leasing arrangement is so massively in Optus's favour that they can't possibly be removing them to increase profits.
The writing is on the wall that these leasing plans are a predatory and unethical business model that sell something to people that will never eventuate, all in exchange for the customer taking on a huge amount of risk that is barely made clear, and often even hidden from them. I am happy that no future customers will be trapped in a leasing plan, but as one of the poor schmucks that were ensnared, I would hope that Optus would also have the good faith to allow us an out from this shoddy shoddy deal.
As you point out, the lure of a deal giving you the latest phone in perpetuity is unrealistic, a fact now plain to those who were looking at re-leasing after 12 months. Whilst to some extent they have been saved from themselves, we are all still trapped in this lemon contract for 24 months with any minor damage costing us $500. This became clear to me about 2 months into my contract, and have been resigned for a while to just wrapping my phone in cotton wool, riding out the 24 months and then getting as far away from Optus as possible. Quite literally the worst company I have ever had to deal with (for a number of reasons, not least the leasing fiasco) but they could probably save themselves a lot of customers by offering a 'goodwill' switch from the lease plan to an ownership plan.
It has been an interesting thread with perhaps more to come. I also felt the removal of the plans might have been to avoid some legal or regulatory slap on the wrist on the horizon. As you say they were no doubt very lucrative for Optus.
With your phone I assume you didn't take the Optus Insurance option? Fingers crossed it doesn't get lost or stolen either then. You might want to look into your home contents insurance options (if you have some). I'm with GIO and they have an away from home component. Up to $5000 of pretty much anything is covered from damage, loss or theft (doesn't matter if its your fault and has $100 excess). Alternatively you can might be able to list one specific item and have it covered while you are out and about.
I would also like to see Optus provide something better for customers but I'm not sure its financially viable. The phone hand backs actually go to a third party company and I think there are contractual obligations on how and when this can happen. IMO I think Optus could do the following (and also keep a lot of happier customers?) is to:
a) waive the $99 upgrade fee (or perhaps not - Optus would need to run the numbers)
b) Reduce the 12 month limit on upgrading down to 6 months (again this might be too generous)
c) apply the $10 a month discount to the new plan price for the next contract only (but definitely do this)
These would only be available if the customer took the current option to move to a new non-leasing contract for two years.
Would that path be enough to entice you to resign?