Bill shock - $2k over data cap
This case study highlights how mobile operators work and how costly exceeding plan limits can be.
When Peter* and his family moved houses, their broadband connection was delayed for a month. While he was waiting for his connection, Peter used his mobile data instead. Peter received warning texts from his provider advising him that additional charges would apply if he exceeded his data plan, however Peter assumed the additional charges would not be high.
A month later Peter received his usual bill, with the account showing additional charges of $2200 for mobile data usage. He contacted his provider who confirmed the charges were accurate and reflected the approx.10 gigs additional data usage in the month.
Peter acknowledged that he received texts warning him of the charges but expected that he would receive further contact considering the high costs involved for exceeding his plan. His provider explained that as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO**) they are limited in their ability to provide updates to customers who reach their plan limit and are bound by the terms of their own contract with the Mobile Network Operator (MNO).
The provider offered credits up to $250 but the matter could not be resolved. TDR became involved and appointed a Resolution Practitioner to assist in resolving the matter.
Through discussions examining all the issues and options involved, the Resolution Practitioner was able to help Peter and his provider reach a settlement of 50% off Peters final bill. The Resolution Practitioner also helped Peter understand the difference between a MVNO and a MNO.
After reflection, Peter’s provider agreed to look into further ways of keeping their mobile customers better informed and protected from 'bill shock' in the future.
*Names have been changed to protect our customers’ identities.
**A Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a wireless telecommunications service provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers. Wholesale services are purchased by the MVNO from a Mobile Network Operator (MNOs include 2Degrees, Spark and Vodafone), and the MVNO then acts as any retail service provider does and enters into contracts directly with customers for mobile or wireless services.
A MVNO customer has the same general customer service rights as any other mobile customer. Any complaint should be dealt with directly between the MVNO and their customer, or the complaint can be referred to TDR if the MVNO is member of our service. It is up to the MVNO to ensure that its wholesale services agreement with the MNO provides the required level of service it needs to its customers.