The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has called on telcos to introduce real time usage alerts to combat against bill shock.
The nation’s peak body for consumer representation in communications said that
after a small but respectable drop in mobile bill shock due to usage notifications shown in the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) Spend Management Tools and Alerts Survey 2015, further gains need to be found through the introduction of real time notifications.
ACCAN said that current warnings can be up to 48 hours out of date by the time consumers receive them. With high excess usage charges, consumers can rack up a significant debt without even realising it, the body said.
Telstra is currently the only telco to announce real time usage notifications.
The ACMA research showed that mobile bill shock had dropped by six per cent but delays in receiving information are “the major cause for dissatisfaction with the alert system” and this is where consumers can get caught out.
ACCAN challenged all telcos to implement real time usage alerts so that “consumers know when they are approaching their limit and as soon as they have reached a limit.”
This would allow them to more easily manage their usage and avoid expensive excess charges, ACCAN said.
The Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code requirement to send SMS usage alerts only applies to residential consumers and some small businesses.
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ACCAN has urged small business customers not receiving alerts to contact their provider to see what usage tools are available to them to avoid bill shock.