Beating the NBN bullies!
A recent investigation by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has found an increasing number of telemarketers are pressuring consumers to sign up to the NBN.
Their tactics include presenting ‘likely’ threats to consumers about phone and internet disconnection and even loss of phone numbers if they don’t sign up ‘immediately.’
In addition, they often provide inaccurate information and false “speed” claims about NBN plans.
The tactics engaged
Between January and December 2018, residential consumers and small businesses made nearly 1800 complaints to the TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman) regarding misleading conduct involving services delivered over the NBN.
Bear in mind these are complaints that were actually recorded, the real number of those targeted is, of course, much higher.
The TIO noted high pressure sales tactics were being used to convince and indeed, commit consumers and even small businesses to phone and internet contracts they didn’t really want, need, or in many cases, couldn’t afford. The impact of these devious tactics is being particularly felt by older and more vulnerable consumers who may not even use the internet at home. In publishing the report, the Ombudsman noted:
“Consumers are being given information about moving to the NBN that is simply not true and puts them at a disadvantage. This is concerning behaviour from a small group of phone and internet providers and should stop.”
The reality is that moving to the NBN is not automatic, and consumers need to know they can make an informed and timely decision about which NBN provider and services are right for them.
You would think the industry has improved, but now in 2019 all evidence suggests this behaviour is getting even worse!
Actions and strategies
If you do find you’ve agreed to a product or service you don’t need or have been pressured into a contract and you are getting no joy from the provider when you want to cancel (which will most likely be the case when you have been scammed), the TIO should be your first port of call. Their complaint’s department can be contacted on 1800 062 058.
If you do receive these telemarketing calls, here are some TIO strategies to handle them.
- First and foremost, check who the telemarketer is working for. Do this early in the call and hang up if the telemarketer is not clear. For example, some will say they are from Telstra, but when pressed will admit they are an agent or franchisee.
- Check whether you are signing up for a new plan on the old network or on the NBN. If your area is not ready for the NBN there may be no need to transfer yet. Go to NBN Co’s website www.nbnco.com.au to find out if your area is ready to connect to the NBN.
- Take your time to understand the details of the new phone or internet plan you are considering before agreeing to a contract or plan. Ask for a copy of the plan on offer, including a Key Facts Sheet.
- Take your time to consider the offer. Do your own research and compare plans to decide which plan suits you best. Don’t reveal any personal information before you’re ready to sign up for a new plan.
- Check the disconnection date for your existing phone and internet service by contacting your current provider. Check you have received a letter from your current provider or NBN Co. about a disconnection date.
- Know your rights about changing your mind. If you’ve been cold called by a telemarketer you can, in most cases, cancel the contract within 10 business days.
If you have any concerns, we are happy to provide you obligation free guidance on your needs.
This is particularly relevant today, but there are alternatives to the NBN!