Mobile phone contracts

A poor reception

Scott had to move from his home for work. He rented a flat and decided that it would be better to get a mobile phone than a phone connected to his flat. Scott went into a mobile phone shop and spoke to a mobile phone retailer. He chose a monthly plan with a minimum term of 2 years. The Plan included a 'free' phone and free calls every month with a total minimum cost of $1,500 for the two-year term of contract (which works out to be about $60 per month). Scott planned to have the mobile phone as his only phone and because it was 'free' and was the latest model he thought the total cost was reasonable.

His problems began almost straight away. Although the phone would work sometimes, Scott found that he could not send or receive phone calls from his home. He went back to the retailer several times and was told that the phone was not faulty and that it was a problem with the reception. This was an issue for the network provider.

Scott rang his network provider who advised him that the area that he lived in was well known for its poor reception. Scott was very angry. He had made it clear when he signed the contract that he needed the phone so that his employer, family and friends could contact him at home. The retailer denied that Scott had said he mainly wanted to use the phone at home, and anyway, it was Scott’s responsibility to check the coverage map or contact the network provider to find out where he could use the phone before he signed the contract. The network provider would not cancel the contract and refund Scott the money that he had already paid. Scott had to pay for the full cost of the contract - $1,500 - even if he returned the phone and cancelled the contract.

If you have problems with your network service provider, contact:

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

PO Box 276, Collins Street West
Melbourne Victoria 8007
Free call: 1800 062 058

If you have problems with a retailer, contact:

NSW Fair Trading

Phone: 13 32 20
Make an enquiry: Fair Trading enquiry.

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