Is a customer bound by T&Cs that they haven’t received?
Hemi entered into a 12-month contract for unlimited VDSL on a naked broadband plan. Naked broadband is a commonly used term to describe a fixed broadband or wireless connection without landline services. Approximately six weeks later his provider emailed him, along with the many other naked broadband customers, giving him 30 days’ notice that the price of his broadband would be increased by a set amount per month.
His provider explained that the price increase was due to the cost involved in managing the copper connections required for this type of broadband service, which are higher in cost than other types of broadband. Hemi’s provider also pointed out that the Terms and Conditions (T&C) of his fixed-term contract allowed them to raise the price of his service as long as sufficient notice was provided. The provider also noted that Hemi was welcome to leave the provider without paying an early termination fee if he did not agree to the price increase. An early termination fee is usually payable when a customer leaves the provider before the end of the fixed term they have agreed to.
Hemi countered that he had not been provided the T&C’s and therefore had not agreed to them. He did not want to change providers and believed that the price should remain as it was when he agreed to it 6 weeks previously.
Hemi and his provider could not resolve the issue. Hemi maintained that he had not agreed to these T&C’s and the provider maintained that he had. Hemi contacted TDR and a Resolution Practitioner was appointed.
The TDR Resolution Practitioner became involved and began looking into the details of his complaint. TDR found that on the initial phone call between Hemi and the provider, the provider’s representative had mentioned that Hemi would be bound by the T&C’s. The representative emailed Hemi after this call however he did not provide or direct Hemi to the T&C’s. Hemi considered this an oversight of his providers and proof that he had not agreed to them. The provider considered that Hemi was still bound by the T&C’s, because they were mentioned in all the invoices he received.
The Resolution Practitioner was able to help Hemi and his provider work out a clear timeline of what occurred. They helped Hemi understand the contract he had agreed to, and his provider see where their representative had failed to provide information to Hemi.
Through this process, Hemi and his provider were able to reach a resolution together and the matter was settled.