- Consumers have rights under the Australian Consumer Law when they buy a mobile phone service.
- The remedy you're entitled to will depend on whether the issue is major or minor.
What the ACCC does
- We help to keep mobile phone services competitive.
- We work with stakeholders to improve mobile service coverage.
- We accept reports where people consider a business is doing something they shouldn’t do. We use those reports to inform our education, compliance and enforcement work.
What the ACCC can't do
- We don’t resolve individual disputes about mobile phone service providers - the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman does.
- We don’t give legal advice for individual complaints.
If a product or service you buy fails to meet a consumer guarantee, you have the right to ask for a repair, replacement, refund or cancel under the Australian Consumer Law. The remedy you're entitled to will depend on whether the issue is major or minor.
You can seek compensation for damages and loss you suffer due to a problem with a product or service if the supplier could have reasonably foreseen the problem. This is in addition to your repair, replacement, refund or cancel rights.
The ACCC is responsible for the regulation of the telecommunications sector under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
The aim of access provisions in the Act is to ensure that consumers can:
- connect with different networks
- benefit from competition in the market.
See Mobile services regulation for more information about our role.
There is an industry code of conduct that is designed to ensure good service and fair outcomes for consumers of telecommunications services.
The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code sets out expectations for industry to provide:
- clear and accurate information in advertising and contracts about what they are offering in their mobile phone plans
- fair billing and credit management processes
- effective and clear processes for complaints handling.
If you’re struggling to pay your bill on time due to financial difficulties, you can contact your mobile phone provider and ask about their financial hardship policy. They are required to have this policy under the code.
The financial hardship policy should provide clear information on the options available to you for managing any financial hardship relating to your mobile phone service.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority oversees this code and has more information to help if you can’t pay your bill.
The ACCC held a mobile issues forum with several regional, consumer and government stakeholders in 2018. The forum examined issues such as the lack of accurate and reliable mobile coverage information.
Following the forum, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone Hutchison Australia agreed to work together to improve the comparability of their mobile coverage maps. As a start, they’ve agreed to use consistent terminology when describing indoor coverage, outdoor coverage and external antenna. The project is ongoing.
For more information about the ACCC’s work on regional mobile issues see Industry engagement on implementing proposed measures.
Contact your mobile phone provider first
If you have a problem with any aspect of your mobile phone service, you should contact your mobile phone provider first.
A complaint handling policy can be found on your provider’s website, which will explain how to lodge a complaint. Providers may have a dedicated phone number or email address for contacting them about complaints.
Making a complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
If you cannot resolve a problem with your provider, make a complaint through the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman website or phone 1800 062 058. The Ombudsman may be able to help you to resolve the dispute with your provider.
Avoid mobile phone scams
Recognise, avoid and report mobile phone scams by visiting the Scamwatch website.
Report a problem about your mobile service provider to the ACCC
You can also report a problem about your mobile service provider to the ACCC. We may investigate providers that repeatedly break the rules.