Case Studies - Customer Service - Billing (including roaming)

Plans change

Ted took advantage of a mobile phone plan where he would pay a higher rate and receive a rebate at the end of each term, which he would use to purchase a new phone. He had this plan for several years. When he requested his rebate at the end of the most recent term in November 2019, he discovered that the plan had ended and therefore there was no longer any rebate on offer despite still paying the same fees.

Over 18 months Ted had numerous discussions and communications with the provider, requesting a refund of the rebate he felt he was owed.

The provider advised him that they were not obliged to advise him when the terms of the plan changed as he was able to review the plan at any time. To resolve the matter, they offered him a credit of $800 to put towards the purchase of a new phone. However, Ted was not satisfied with this offer and the matter was deadlocked.

Ted got in touch with TDR and the complaint proceeded to negotiation. The TDR Resolution Practitioner worked with the parties clarifying their issues however they were unable to reach a settlement or resolution. The matter proceeded to adjudication.

The Resolution Practitioner found that the provider was not obliged to inform Ted that the plan ended, and that the rebate was no longer available. Both parties were able to negotiate a new contract. They also found that in keeping with the ‘law of equity’ Ted is entitled to a refund of the difference between the amount he paid and what he would have paid if he changed his plan when the rebate ended. The extensive communications, time and energy Ted expended was recognised by the TDR Resolution Practitioner.

The final decision required the provider to credit $800 to Ted’s phone account.