High-pressure telemarketing for the NBN is a major source of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (Photo: TIO)
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Judi Jones
(Photo: TIO)

August 1, 2019

Threats of being disconnected from phone and internet services, loss of phone numbers, and inaccurate information about NBN plans are a major source of concern, according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

In its latest report “Misleading Telemarketing of NBN Services”, the TIO said residential consumers and small businesses made 1729 complaints about misleading conduct involving services delivered over the NBN last year.

The investigation found high-pressure sales tactics werebeing used to commit consumers and small businesses to phone and internet contracts they did not want, didn’t need, or couldn’t afford.

The impact of these tactics was particularly felt by some older consumers who don’t use the internet at home.

“Consumers are being told information about moving to the NBN that is simply not true and puts them at a disadvantage,” Ombudsman Judi Jones said.

“This is concerning behaviour from a small group of phone and internet providers and should stop.”

Ms Jones said in some cases the TIO had shared information about the issue with regulators so they could consider further action.

“Moving to the NBN is not automatic, and consumers need to know they can make a measured and informed decision about which NBN provider is right for them,” she said.

“If a consumer is feeling pressured by a telemarketer, it is fine to hang up.

“If they find themselves signed up to a contract they don’t want or need, and can’t fix the issue with the provider, the TIO can help.”

The TIO also issued this advice about how to manage a call from a telemarketer about moving to the NBN:

  • Check who the telemarketer is working for early in the call and hang up if the telemarketer is not clear
  • 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 just yet. Go to NBN Co’s website to find out if your area is ready to connect to the NBN
  • Take your time to thoroughly understand the details of the new phone or internet plan you are considering before agreeing to a new 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, in most cases you can cancel the contract within 10 business days
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