Hey there @Robertwl. It's not great to hear about the troubles you have had in regards to your leased return device. If you get the chance, feel free to reach out to our teams on Facebook or Twitter, as they will be more than happy to see if they can assist on this matter further with you.
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What is scandalous is that Optus seems to have institutionalised this self interested incompetence. Many just give up and pay.
At this stage you should just remove the emotion. The "Flexi" system unfortunately hands almost all power over to Optus. If they decide you must pay $500 then there's no (official) place of review or argument. That doesn't mean that it can't be sorted.
First up, the original store is not relevant in this. The phone was sent back to Optus and they're deciding the cost. They have stuffed up many times as reported on this forum alone. Request the report (and pictures) as to what damage they are alleging.
As a side note, is there any chance you had find my phone enabled on the iPhone? This essentially renders the phone useless to Optus and you get charged a full fee.
Have you been given a payout figure? This might be a payout figure as the iPhone XR is selling for about $400 on eBay. You can always just pay the payout figure and then sell the phone on eBay yourself.
All this aside, I would suggest if you've done some of the above without a result then make a TIO complaint. It should stop Optus charging you $500.
Totally agree with you @Robertwl . It is totally scandalous.
I feel so bullied by Optus. I didnt want the leasing arrangement either, didnt ask for it, didn't know about it, but was pushed into it by the store sales person that it was a better deal. Paid for insurance on the phone because of that. I try to sort out this charge but you have no options just do you want to pay $499 or $392 and within a short amount of time its a charge on your bill whether you like it or not. And of course you are by default charged the $499 more expensive charge.
I return the phone, a Samsung Galaxy that to me was working perfectly, get an iphone and locked into that new contract and then are told I have to pay $499 internal damage fee or $392 to buy out the original Samsung phone. I am told the insurance I paid for isn't valid now the contract is up. What is the point of insurance if I dont know there is supposed internal damage when I return the phone. I feel I was scammed on the pointless insurance too.
Clearly Optus knows their leasing system was not fair if they do not offer it now.
They are not doing the right thing by their customers and like you I have been a long time customer as a sole trader business contract too using their fixed phone, internet and mobile phone services.
I am now being harassed about not paying my additional $499 bill. I am a single mother, sole trader struggling with business with covid, have some serious health issues and this is causing me a lot of additional stress. I feel I have no rights or options and are being absolutely bullied by Optus.
yep, 100% scam. I returned a phone was told by 2 staff it was perfect, 6 weeks later got a text saying its damaged but lucky for me I had insurance and I just had to pay the $150 insurance claim to get optus a brand new phone to sell, spent hours arguing with them and hey presto turns out it was 'damaged in transit' and they will 'waive' the fee.
Great little insurance scam they have running. At the end of my current plan I will never give optus another cent and I tell anyone who will listen about how garbage they are.
I agree @sam2481 . I had insurance too, returned the phone in what I believed was perfect condition then told I owe $499 for internal damage.
I mentioned I had insurance and was told because the contract had expired the insurance wasnt applicable. Being in Melbourne and in the middle of covid I wasn't going to rush the phone back to my local Chadstone store where there had also been several covid outbreaks. It was returned only weeks after the contract ended once restrictions had lifted.
I didnt ask to lease the phone in the first place. I didnt even know that was a possibility. I was talked into it by the store person and I took out insurance to be sure. The insurance has proven useless.
Once the phone is handed over to store staff we have no control or power to have any say or comeback. Its pay the damage fee, buy out the phone or nothing. I can only take their word for it the phone has internal damage.
I am a single mother, sole trader who has had mobile, fixed line and NBN with Optus for a long time. I am a low income earner and like many of us affected greatly by covid. I now have a $499 charge on my bill.
Optus know their leasing program hasn't worked and no longer offer it but are not doing the right thing by their customers who took this out.
I feel let down and bullied by Optus.
The Optus leasing program was a travesty of dishonest marketing and a bad deal to boot. They literally cancelled it overnight when presumably they were looking at a legal challenge that might have meant the entire scheme was void.
At this stage you should have several good options.
1) Why do you think the insurance has run out? the leasing plan goes for 26 months before expiring. If you had insurance on the phone then look at your bill and you should see a charge for it.
2) Did you hand the phone back before 26 months? After that point Optus are responsible for any damage. Before that point you are, but you are also covered by insurance.
Request the phone be returned so you can lodge an insurance scam. Insurance covers the date it was damaged, not the date you make a claim.
Also request a full report with photos on this 'internal damage' (water?) - are Optus seriously suggesting that if the phone turns on, appears undamaged and works fine that they still pull the phone apart and check for 'internal damage?)
3) Probably the best option is to tell Optus that you were misled at the point of sale and didn't realise you were entering a leasing program and thought you were getting a standard 'buy the phone' plan. This is the legal issue Optus really tripped over. You were (and are) willing to return the phone and walk away but not willing to buy the phone or pay a damage fee. Tell them you will be making a ACCC and TIO complaint if they want to push the matter - just stand your ground and keep saying you were mislead and now are willing to walk away with no phone (unlike the standard deal where you would own that phone outright now)
4) Make a TIO complaint. Its easy and the TIO has the power to force Optus to comply and will do the heavy lifting on your part. Again you were mislead on the terms of the deal.
5) If all that fails (or you can't be bothered) then request to purchase the phone. I assume it was in working order when you handed it in? Sell it on eBay for $500 or more and you're ahead.