- Your service provider can only transfer your phone or internet service if you agree.
- Never give your personal information to someone who calls you out of the blue.
- There are things to watch out for and actions you can take if you have been transferred without your permission.
What the ACCC does
- We investigate businesses that cause repeated and ongoing harm to consumers.
- We provide general guidance to businesses and consumers on how consumer law operates.
- We provide information about scams on our Scamwatch website.
What the ACCC can’t do
- We don’t investigate or resolve individual complaints about internet or phone services. This is the role of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
- We don’t resolve individual disputes between consumers and business.
- We don’t provide legal advice.
When services are transferred without your knowledge or agreement
Be careful when you get a phone call from someone who says they are connected to your service provider or asks about your phone or internet services. They may be trying to get information from you so they can transfer your service without your agreement. It might also be a scam.
Signs that you may have been transferred to another service are:
- you suddenly receive a bill from a new company that you didn’t sign up to
- your services are disconnected or suspended for no reason.
You should ring your service provider quickly and ask to be transferred back. You should also protect your personal information.
Some of the problems that result from an unauthorised transfer include:
- early termination fees from your original provider
- monthly fees for services you didn’t consent to purchasing
- costs associated with reconnecting with your original provider
- loss of discounts associated with bundled services
- changes to your service quality, such as less coverage, or changes to the service you are paying for.
Protecting your personal information
Never give your personal information to someone who calls you out of the blue.
If you want to transfer your phone or internet services, make sure you contact the service by finding the business’ phone number independently. If you’re not comfortable with a conversation or aren’t sure who you’re dealing with, simply hang up the phone.
If a caller asks for your birth date or address, they might be trying to trick you into entering into a contract, or they may be a scammer. If that happens, hang up.
Watch out for callers who say:
- “I’m calling because you’re entitled to a discount”
- “You are entitled to this benefit because you’re with [existing phone company]”
- “We are an authorised reseller of [major phone company]”
- “We use the same infrastructure as [major phone company]”
- “There won’t be any physical changes to your phone line”
- “We are offering this benefit to all [major phone company] customers in your area”
- “You’re not signing up for anything today. We’re just registering you for a discount”
- “There is a problem with your phone or internet service”.
If you want to opt 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.
Mobile phone service scams
Your mobile phone has lots of information about you, including your banking information.
Scammers transfer mobile services from one provider to another to steal your identity and your money. This is called mobile porting fraud.
Scammers may also contact your existing provider and ask to swap the sim card so they can take over your service and steal your money. This is called sim swap fraud.
Your service provider must follow rules to protect you from scammers. They must verify your identity before transferring your phone, mobile or internet service.
If you think you've been scammed or had your identity stolen
- Contact your bank immediately
- You can seek support from services like IDCARE
- You can report scams to Scamwatch.
Cooling off period for transfers
Take your time and think carefully about any offer from a telemarketer before giving any personal information or agreeing to transfer. You can ask for a reference number from the caller. Check the details of the service provider online or find their phone number to ensure the offer is real.
After you have checked that the service provider is genuine, you can ask for a Critical information summary, which is a summary of the offer that service providers are required to give you. Take time to read and understand the terms and conditions before you agree to a contract.
You have a 10-day cooling off period if you enter into a contract after a telemarketing call. This means you can cancel the agreement within 10 days if you change your mind. See Telemarketing and door to door sales for more information.
If you think your phone service has been transferred without your agreement
- Call the new provider to make a complaint and ask them to transfer you back.
- You should also inform your original provider.
Problems with your mobile service
Telemarketing and door-to-door sales
What to do if your services are transferred without your agreement
Contact the business to explain the problem and ask for the transfer to be reversed.
If the business doesn’t resolve the problem, there are more steps you can take.
- Make a complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman through their website or contact 1800 062 058.
- You can also report telecommunications providers to the Australian Communications and Media Authority if you think they haven’t followed the rules or it’s a widespread problem.
- If you want to report a scam, visit Scamwatch.
Report a business to the ACCC
Anyone can report a business to the ACCC that has tricked or misled you.
We use these reports to identify issues that need investigation.