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Occasional Contributor
Occasional Contributor

Unfair device repayment charge

Hi Optus,
Aug 2018 I signed up to 2 phone plans over the phone in 1 transaction. Unsure how, 1 phone was sent to my right address and 1 was sent to my old address which then got sent back Optus warehouse.
The phone bill including device repayment already started in Aug.
Fast forward in Nov, the iPhone was still not sent to me due to out of stock.
I escalated to Optus crowd because online support was non existent and not reliable.
Optus manager out of goodwill upgraded the plan to a newer iPhone XS Max ( with increase in monthly bill).
Fast forward to today, as I was trying to change my Optus plan I was told that there is an outstanding device repayment at the end of my 2 year contract.
Again online support is non existent, they just read out to me that it was a new leasing contract from Nov so I have to pay the remainder for the device despite the contract finishes in Aug.
Now my issue is:
1. I had paid for the phone for 5 months without having a physical new phone with me until Nov 18.
2. Out of Optus "goodwill" they upgraded the phone with increment in the plan bill because the original iPhone that got sent to a wrong address was no longer in stock.
I don't understand how a phone reserved for me was given to someone else. I said that's fine. I would take a newer iPhone with higher phone bill.
3. Now approaching the end of my initial contract, I was told that there would be an outstanding charge ~ $170 that I have to pay after the contract finishes.

Anyone with sound mind would think this is not fair. I paid for a phone for 5 months without getting a phone. Now I have to pay more for Optus's mistake in the first place.
Online team would no waive that charge despite knowing the chronology of the events.
I need an advise on how to challenge this unfair remaining charge, or how to escalate to an ombudsman. Better still, I am calling out for help from any Optus representative that can make sense of the situation and see that the remaining charge is not fair on my (customer) behalf.
Optus took my money for the phone repayment for 5 months without sending the phone. And now they won't waive the remaining charge for the phone that they sent as a "goodwill".

This is kind of experience really makes me want to port to other Telco provider.

I can pay for the remaining charge as long as I get reimbursed for my money that I paid for no phone for 5 months.

Please help.
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Respected Contributor
Respected Contributor

Re: Unfair device repayment charge


@Furfurmalassezi wrote:
3. Now approaching the end of my initial contract, I was told that there would be an outstanding charge ~ $170 that I have to pay after the contract finishes.

The phone was leased right? So is that $170 the payout to keep the phone?

I can pay for the remaining charge as long as I get reimbursed for my money that I paid for no phone for 5 months.

So for the phone repayments, the fact that you did not have the phone for 5 months does not automatically mean that you should not have to pay for 5 months of phone repayments. They should definitely give you compensation for being without the phone for 5 months though. Whether that compensation should be enough to cancel-out the all 5 months of repayments will for you to negotiate with Optus.

If you also purchased a service plan to go with the phone then that should definitely be refunded/non-charged for the whole 5 months.

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Respected Contributor
Respected Contributor

Re: Unfair device repayment charge


@YetAnotherAcc wrote:

I can pay for the remaining charge as long as I get reimbursed for my money that I paid for no phone for 5 months.

So for the phone repayments, the fact that you did not have the phone for 5 months does not automatically mean that you should not have to pay for 5 months of phone repayments.


Actually, as the phone was leased (not a contract for purchase, which is what I was thinking when I wrote my original response), you can actually treat it largely as a rental, and that is a very different case. In that situation, because you did not have use of the phone for 5 months you should not have to pay for it.

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Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Unfair device repayment charge

Ok,

You should first make a proper list of the events (keep it bullet point). Noting that at various points you have agreed to various actions so that's on you.

Its unclear if you are on a leasing plan (which requires the phone to be returned or for you to buy it from Optus)

Note that no one from Optus will be contacting you from this forum.

Optus should definitely not be billing you until they get the phone to you and it is activated. They can easily confirm your plan used no data and made no calls in the first 5 months. As mentioned though you still have to pay for the phone, just not the service costs for those 5 months.

So

1) Find out exactly what this $170 is actually for
2) Ensure you have no service charges for the 5 months you didn't have a phone
3) Contact the TIO once you have established the facts of the matter and make a specific and formal complaint

If you want advice on what plan might be a better fit for your needs let us know what your situation is and what data you want etc.
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Occasional Contributor
Occasional Contributor

Re: Unfair device repayment charge

My point is the 5 months that I paid without getting a phone should have been carried forward into the new phone leased to me. I was not looking to upgrade a phone, it was Optus solution to having given my phone that was sent back to their warehouse to some one else, then no other phone in stock.
Thanks for the replies anyway. Good to know no Optus rep here. I got a help last time with the delivery stuff from someone in Optus crowd, so I thought this time someone can help again.
I think I have learnt my lessons. Time to move on to a different telco. I am happy to pay for something that I use but not for Optus's mistake. Optus has failed me as a customer. I will just share my story and discourage people to use optus, doing my part so other people don't end up in my unfortunate situation.
If only they did their job properly with my new plan request and address in the first place. Ordered 2 phone plans at the same time in one same phone call, one got sent to the right address and another one to my old wrong address. How even is that supposed to happen.
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Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Unfair device repayment charge

Its still pretty unclear what you 'paid'. Are you talking for the service or for the phone itself? Its also unclear if this was a lease plan or a standard buy your phone plan. The effect of the plan 'upgrade' and what you agreed to along the way is also unclear.

Note, Its quite possible the handset payments on your phone were $0. As mentioned no one disagrees that charges should not have begun until you got the phone at the right address.

Next time I would also suggest if a company has no stock available for a month after you ordered then you cancel the order. What you did at the 5 month point should have happened at the 1 month point.

FWIW the Optus warehouse distribution system doesn't appear to be world class. At a guess I'd say one phone at least had to be ordered in and they arrived at separate times under separate packing slips. One person processed the correct address and the other didn't.

Good Luck with new plans (thankfully leases have effectively been band in the industry, so that's a plus)
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Occasional Contributor
Occasional Contributor

Re: Unfair device repayment charge

I escalated to TIO and was contacted promptly by an Optus rep who reviewed the case and waived the device repayment fee in the form of credit. Thanks to all who have replied.
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Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Unfair device repayment charge

Great. It's a pity it takes a TIO complaint to get Optus to just do what they obviously can do of they want to.

Note you can request the credit be sent out to you as a refund if you want now.
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