Common Complaint - Billing & Fees

Charges

TDR can assist with complaints about charges you have, or have not, received from Scheme Members.

Types of complaints about charging

We deal with, but are not limited to, complaints about charges from a Scheme Member including:

  • excess usage
  • unexpected charges
  • unrecognised purchases on an account
  • charges for equipment
  • international mobile roaming charges
  • charges for services not agreed to or, not being able to access services that were paid for
  • early termination fees
  • outdated or expired plans.

Scheme Member obligations

Scheme Members have obligations and duties in relation to charges, both under the general law that applies in New Zealand, and also under industry codes.

The general law includes the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.

Industry codes that apply include the Customer Complaints Code and International Mobile Roaming Code.

In broad summary, Scheme Members are required to be clear in their communications around what they are offering, and the terms and conditions that will apply around services provided.  There is an expectation that charges are correct and based on the contractual obligations that apply between the parties.

TDR’s view of the issue

A Scheme Member’s terms and conditions should set out that the Customer is liable for the charges for all the services provided, no matter who uses them.

If an account is overdue Customers may be charged a late payment fee.

Effort should be put into making billing simple to read and the charges that appear easily identifiable.

Scheme Members must make sure enough information is readily available to a Customer. This is in order for the customer to verify that charges are correct and consistent with the Scheme Member’s published or contracted charges and discounts, and the product the Customer requested, used, or contracted to receive.

Dealing with the complaint

When we deal with complaints involving charges, we consider common practice and fairness in all circumstances.

To assess a complaint about a charge we may ask for information from the Customer and Scheme Member, including:

  • the terms and conditions for the product to which the charges relate
  • critical information summaries for the products, if relevant
  • copies of bills showing the charges
  • raw call data
  • what information was provided to the Customer.

Outcome

Generally, Customers are liable for valid charges incurred in the use of their service. We recommend that Customers check their bills regularly, raise any disputes early, and pay or arrange to pay all amounts they do not dispute.

Outcomes may include the Scheme Member giving more information about its charges, waiving some or all the disputed charges and re-issuing invoices at a correct rate, or letting the Customer cancel the service with no exit fee.

TDR can not consider complaints about the level of charges Scheme Members choose to set, for example if the Scheme Member set a certain level of charge per megabyte of data used, TDR could not consider if that charge per megabyte was too high.