Communications service providers throughout Australia need to clean up their act when it comes to buzzwords and industry terms which leave consumers confused
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications service providers throughout Australia need to clean up their act when it comes to buzzwords and industry terms which leave consumers confused. So says industry regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which has warned operators over continued misuse of terms such as 'cap' in mobile and broadband plans.
ACMA is also keen to clear up definitions of other industry terms to make sure subscribers do not find themselves misled by providers when signing up. The regulator wants to establish a voluntary code of conduct which all providers will embrace.
'Unlimited plans' are one key area ACMA is seeking to ensure greater clarity on, since many Australian subscribers continue to feel confused by what the term actually means and what they actually get from a supplier.
ACMA has called on all Australian operators to take this term out of subscription offerings. Vodafone has already acted, removing 'Infinite' from plan advertising, while another provider, Amaysim, is now making clear that 1300 and 1800 numbers are included in Unlimited plans.
Sarah McDonald, spokesperson for Compare Mobile Plans, says: "We are pleased to see ACMA acting on this issue and subscribers can only benefit. All communications service providers which claim to offer 'Unlimited' plans need to ensure that their users are getting just that otherwise they can be guilty of misleading customers."
Cap and Included Value
ACMA is also pursuing misuse of the term 'Cap' in contracts, asking for providers to not use the term if the plan does not genuinely have a defined spending limitation to their contract or plan.
To address this ACMA wants providers to put in place distinct definitions of what users actually pay by offering standard unit prices for two-minute voice calls, texts and for 1MB of data usage.
Another term which confuses subscribers - particularly those from overseas - is
'Flagfall', since the US and European markets no longer charge for the connection-related fee.
"Flagfall is very specific to the Australian market and as such tends to mislead subscribers and foreign visitors, and can lead to billshock upon receipt of a monthly bill. It would make everyone's lives easier should the providers change the terminology and make pricing plans clearer," Sarah McDonald went on.
Amaysim recently took the progressive step of removing the flagfall confusion from its plans by offering no contract SIM-only contracts which do not include the flagfall fee.
Increased smartphone penetration in Australia requires providers to be clearer about what 'included data' contracts entail too, claims ACMA.
"Here too is a term which providers could clear up for users and make the industry simpler and more straightforward," says Sarah McDonald. "On top of included data in contract terminology, providers can also address expensive roaming charges which often leave consumers with a feeling of having been somewhat ripped off."
Comparing mobile phone plans
Websites like Compare Mobile Plans can help subscribers to compare all the best mobile deals around and find the one that is most appropriate for their needs. The site is home to a simple calculator which consumers can use to establish their requirements and make an informed choice - they can even compare the plus and minus points of various mobile phones available. The site offers information from all Australia's operators, from Telstra to Optus, Dodo to Bigpond and broadband plans from many more.
About Compare Mobile Plans
Compare Mobile Plans is a free, independent comparison website for consumers looking for a mobile phone plan in Australia.
For further enquiries please contact:
Scott Kennedy, CEO, CompareMobilePlans.com.au
T: (1300 850 518)