Get to know your phone rights: World Consumer Rights Day 2014

14 March 2014

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reminding consumers to make sure they understand their consumer rights, particularly in relation to their mobile phones on World Consumer Rights Day, Saturday March 15.

World Consumers Rights Day is an international day of action and awareness which promotes the rights of consumers around the globe. This year consumer organisations are joining forces to highlight the consumer issues relating to mobile phone services.

The ACCC, in collaboration with ASIC, AMTA, TIO and ACMA, has released a MoneySmart Teaching digital activity which aims to assist young people to understand and use their consumer rights when they have problems with goods and services. This activity guides students in exercising their Consumer Guarantee rights when purchasing a mobile phone.

“While this is an important tool to build awareness of consumer rights amongst a vulnerable group of consumers, it is important that all consumers, not just young people, are aware of their rights when they buy any product or service, including mobile phones,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“With so many choices about plans and devices, it can be quite confusing for consumers to understand their options. While mobile service providers must provide clear and accurate information at the point of sale and in advertising, contracts and bills, consumers are often overwhelmed by the amount of information provided.”

Consumers should think about the following questions before entering into a mobile contract:

  • Would a pre-paid plan be a better option for you and provide you with more certainty?
  • How much do you use your phone and which services do you use most?
  • Does the plan include all of the services you need, or would you have to pay extra?
  • Do you understand the terms of the contract, including cancellation terms?
  • Have you looked at the critical information summary for the plan?
  • Can you get adequate coverage in key places such as at home and work for your voice calls and data needs?

“While the ACCC is on the lookout for misleading representations and unfair contract terms, we encourage consumers to know their rights. If you think something is not right, don’t be afraid to use your consumer rights,” Ms Rickard said.

“If there is a problem with your handset, you may be entitled to a repair, replacement or refund. If there is a problem with your service, you may be entitled to cancel your contract.”

“Often complaining to the service provider can fix your issue, but if you are unable to resolve a complaint directly, consumers should contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman,”

MoneySmart Teaching is an initiative of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to build the consumer and financial literacy knowledge, skills, values and behaviours of young Australians. The ACCC’s ‘Consumer Rights’ activity is part of a set of digital activities for primary and secondary students that supports the development of consumer and financial literacy skills in relation to responsible mobile phone use. It is a valuable resource for teachers, parents and young people and is available from Moneysmart Teaching

If customers are unable to resolve a complaint directly with their service provider, they should contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on 1800 062 058.

The ACCC has more information on consumer rights, as well as hints and tips for selecting a mobile plan under internet & phone on its website. 

Students can learn more about their consumer rights by using the activities on the ‘helping students be mobile savvy’ webpage on the ACCC website.

Release number: 
NR 049/14
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