Unauthorised transfers occur when consumers are switched from one service provider to another without their informed consent.
You’ll receive a call from a salesperson who makes you think they are connected with your current service provider. The salesperson’s company then transfers you to its own service without you being aware of who you are transferring to or the fees involved. Sometimes you may not even be aware your service has been transferred until you receive a bill from the new provider.
Unauthorised transfers can be harmful because they often involve:
- early termination fees from your original provider
- monthly fees for services you did not consent to purchasing
- costs associated with reconnecting with your original provider
- loss of discounts associated with bundled services
- inconvenience of transferring between providers.
Make sure you always understand who you are speaking with and what they are selling before answering any questions. If you’re not comfortable with a conversation or are unsure who you’re dealing with, simply hang up the phone.
Do not provide the salesperson with any personal details before identifying them. If they insist on taking personal details such as your birthdate or address before providing this information, they are probably trying to trick you into entering a contract. If that happens, hang up.
Typical statements used by salespeople to prompt an unauthorised transfer are:
- “I’m calling because you are entitled to a discount”
- “You are entitled to this benefit because you are with [existing phone company]”
- “We are an authorised reseller of [major phone company]”
- “We use the same infrastructure as [major phone company]”
- “There will not be any physical changes to your phone line”
- “We are offering this benefit to all [major phone company] customers in your area”
“You are not signing up for anything today. We are just registering you for a discount”.
You can also protect yourself by opting out of receiving telemarketing calls. Register your number with the Do Not Call Register provided by the Australian Media and Communications Authority, or call 1300 792 958.
You are entitled to a 10-day cooling off period when entering into a contract following a telemarketing call. If you think your phone service has been transferred without your consent, contact the new service provider as soon as possible to make use of this cooling off period.
Check your phone bill regularly to ensure you have not been transferred without your consent. If you have been transferred, contact your original service provider and the new company as soon as possible to tell them you did not consent to the transfer.
If you cannot resolve a problem with your provider, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) on 1800 062 058 or through the TIO website.