Katie* is young Aboriginal woman who decided to move from a pre-paid mobile phone to a 24-month contract, which included a new phone. She knew what she wanted and asked questions of the phone company representative instore. She was sold a more expensive phone than the one she had selected because it was their current ‘special offer’. Even though she had asked for unlimited data, her contract only provided a minimal amount of free data.
When Katie started receiving her bills, they were well over the actual monthly plan cost. She attempted to resolve this with customer service on multiple occasions however the issue was not resolved, nor was she offered a more suitable plan based on her data usage.
During the first eight months of the contract, Katie was charged over $4,000 in excess data charges on top of her plan. This was almost three times the total cost of the contract.
Katie had been selling her artwork to pay the bills but had fallen behind when she was referred to Prisoners Legal Service.
Prisoners Legal Service made a complaint to the Ombudsman and were successful in renegotiating the contract to a suitable plan with enough data included. All of Katie’s excess charges were reversed, resulting in a refund of almost $2,500.
Prisoners Legal Service worked with Katie to ensure she understood how the plan worked and what to look out for in future.
*Not her real name.