Case Studies

Data usage

A customer exceeded his data usage allocation for mobile internet use and incurred charges of around $2500 over and above the standard monthly fee.

The customer did not dispute the charges but asked his provider to cancel the service.  He also asked for extra time to pay off the outstanding amount in instalments.  Because he was terminating the contract before the minimum term had expired, his provider charged a termination fee of nearly $500.  His provider advised him that the total amount had to be paid within 12 weeks or the matter would be handed over to a collection agency.  This meant repayment of $500 a fortnight.

Despite his best efforts the customer was unable to manage this amount.  He paid about $150 a week for several weeks but then ran into difficulty.  He contacted his provider and attempted to negotiate a lower weekly payment.  During the conversation he advised that he was able to pay $50 per week.  His provider gave him a reference number so that he could set up a direct debit on his bank account.  After several payments were made in this way, he received a letter from a collection agency demanding immediate payment of the outstanding debt in full plus fees of over $400.

Confused, the customer called his provider.  He was told that there was no record of any agreement to pay a lower weekly amount.  His provider advised that because it appeared that he had defaulted on the original plan to pay $500 per fortnight, the matter had been passed on to the collection agency.

The customer contacted TDR.  Following discussions facilitated by TDR it was felt that the customer had been genuine in his efforts to repay the debt and that there had been misunderstandings surrounding the change to the weekly payment.  It was agreed that the customer could make repayments on the original debt at a rate of $50 a week.