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New Contributor pingpongpom
New Contributor

Roaming data extortion

So my wife headed over to the UK but we planned in advance and bought the travel packs for the days there.

 

10 days into the trip she received a text. Optus alert: your usage has exceeded $4300 (not $430)

 

We checked the usage online and sure enough the 1GB of data was used in the first 2 days. No contact was made, no prior alerts to suggest we were reaching the limit. They basically went from charging $100 per GB to $1000 per GB in click and didn't inform her until 7 days later.

 

I don't know about you but it's an epic debt to have and we feel it's unjust as there wasn't any warning.

 

Basically the cost of the data usage is now more than her return flights. It's the cost of a year at school, or 3 months mortgage. 

 

That's 4GB of data. 

 

Naturally we have cancelled the direct debit and will catch up with customer services as soon as possible. They claim they have sent 69 texts. It's ridiculous. Block the account or something. 

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Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Roaming data extortion

Global Roaming is not to be triffled with. Its an absurd legacy money rort by the Telcos although usually they keep the amounts they try get under $1000. IMO its not good enough for Telcos to say they will try to SMS you or update your data usage within 3 or so days. The ACCC has recently had issues with Telcos exposing customers to unwarranted and uncontrollable bills. I suspect you'll find a sympathetic ear if you talk to TIO, but hopefully Optus will come to some sort of better agreement before that. I think you'll need to go through the official process to get this resolved (write a complaint to Optus then on to TIO). IMO Optus not getting the data warnings to you (as legally obligated) is simple grounds for the charges to be waived.

 

BTW something has still gone fairly wrong at your wifes end. 4Gb is not a trivial amount of data so either the phone was syncing cloud drives or she was streaming movies or something? 

 

Next time I'm sure you'll look at other better, limitted, options like buying a local SIM or arranging a local SIM online before you head over.

 

Peter Gillespie

RetiredModerator Toomey
RetiredModerator

Re: Roaming data extortion

Hey @pingpongpom, I'm sorry to hear of the circumstances here. Unfortunately Customer Service will be unable to waive the charges if the system shows that 69 warnings were successfully delivered. The system does tell us if the messages were unable to be delivered, but in this instance it sounds like they were successfully received by your number. It should also have date and time stamps for when the service number got the SMS.

 

In this instance we would need to escalate your enquiry to the CRG team for review. I can organise this from my end if you send through a private message with the below information.

 

Full Name:
DOB:
Phone Number:
Are You The Primary Account Holder: Yes/No


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New Contributor pingpongpom
New Contributor

Re: Roaming data extortion

I will be escalating this as a formal complaint through the Optus and also the Ombudsman route.

 

I can confirm that no messages were received until the $4300 message. Which is convenient for Optus as it can make them a hefty profit.

 

Ask yourself, if you received an alert for half of that amount, or even 10% of that amount, would you stop? Of course you would. 

 

If it $100 per GB then you would probably get away with it. But as it's $1000 I will be fighting this all the way. You only have to browse this forum to see that people don't receive data alerts when they should. 

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New Contributor pingpongpom
New Contributor

Re: Roaming data extortion

First time I've ever had to deal with the Customer Service line. They are awful. They just talk over the top of you, not listening and punching out pre-rehearsed lines. 

They gave me some line about the charges not being on the account yet and having to wait for the billing cycle. 

I asked the first worker if I could speak to a manager and I'm pretty sure she just said "He won't give a *moderated*" and hung up. 

 

 

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New Contributor pingpongpom
New Contributor

Re: Roaming data extortion

Thanks Peter.

 

The issue I have is proving the texts were not received. 

 

They will say they have been sent and delivered. There are only two Optus alerts in our inbox, both are the same message, $4300. 

 

The first customer service agent continued to say the alerts were sent "to your email" which is ridiculous. The only Option emails I have are trying to convince me to watch the World Cup with them.

 

And all 3 accounts are tied to my name so they don't have my wife's email address.

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Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Roaming data extortion

@Toomey this is the sort of situation that should make every Optus customer (and customer service person) furious. It certainly makes them fear full. I appreciate your confidence in the system but the myriad of posts here speak to things sometimes going wrong. But then it's just a $10 discount not applied or a phone not delivered. Not thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands (say it slowly) of dollars with apparently no recourse but being told or system says that (against any sense of reason) you were happy to spend that updating your face book page.

 

IMO the crux of the matter isn't really whether Optus it's in the right here. It's quite possible that some inadvertent error by the customer (like not updating an email address) may be the cause. The issue is that Optus are happy to expose their paying customers to such ruinous terms and take the money as a windfall.

 

Simple suggestion, the Optus system is apparently able to tell when a customer has reached a certain data limit?. So  give the customer the option of setting a maximum failsafe amount. Or perhaps just hard code in $1000. Customers can increase that limit ahead of time or if they wish it contact Optus and specifically request a few more $1000 of credit.

 

Its really the premium SMS mentality all over again with customers not able to appreciate or control excess charges. Surely it is in Optus interests to have customers not so afraid they can't buy a travel pack without risking enough money to buy a small car?

 

To the op, Optus may well adjust things behind the scenes. As Toomey says the front line staff can't do that but hopefully you can have a more productive discussion with the higher ups.

 

Peter Gillespie

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