Monday, February 22, 2010

Mobile Data Cash Cow

After struggling with virtually no internet access in the happy holiday village of Snug, MB reluctantly bought a $99 wireless broadband modem last week at a major telecommunications store in Hobart.
She asked the nice young salesman, David who bore a striking resemblance to Prince William, for a prepaid data package as she only needs it while travelling. David offered her a "casual data plan" which was a monthly plan and no lock-in contract. The data cost was $49 for 3 gigabytes per month which MB thought wasn't too bad.
MB asked for a brochure with terms & conditions etc. None available, but on pressing David, he photocopied half the A4 sheet that he had used to show MB the details of the "casual data plans".
Back at Snug the setting up of the modem on the laptop was fairly trouble-free, got online in two shakes of a lamb's tail. Keeping track of data usage isn't so simple though, one has to register by phone and create an online account. MB duly called and registered then tried to open the online account, but her account number wasn't recognised. She called again and after about an hour of phone tag was told by the lady in India or somewhere in Asia that mobile billing would need to fix the problem and as it was night time they were closed. Asian lady then promised to call mobile billing the next day to fix the issue and to call MB to confirm by midday. Asian lady lived up to her promise, fixing the problem and calling MB back!
MB successfully accessed the online account and after some more hoops - one involving an SMS message to the wireless modem - she finally got to see her wireless data usage.
The data was being charged per kb, per session, and worked out to about $1.93 per megabyte.
One session used 49,000 kb for the king's ransom of $89.57
. In all the total owing for data for 5 days to date is $605.00 (562,000kb). A rather alarmed MB trundled into the snazzy telecomms shop in Hobart today and asked another nice young salesman, Dominic, to reconfirm the data plan on the account. He duly checked and noted that no casual data plan was included.
Dominic updated the account with the 3gb casual data plan but advised MB that she will get an invoice for the $605.00 charged so far and that she would need to take it in to a branch to have it reversed....

15 April 2010. Back at home in Cairns & received an invoice in the post from telecomms co. for $1,071.00 (approximately 1.5gb of data). Called the telecomms provider and spent 40 minutes being transferred from one department to another. Eventually was told to return to the shop where the modem was purchased to have the charges reversed.
This prompted a call to the complaints line where MB was put through to a higher level person in accounts and the charge was promptly reversed, with the just the $49.00 being payable.
MB's biggest beef, the time one has to waste just to receive the service one is promised.


Annie and Steve said...

Ah Telstra, you've done it again!
A very expensive blog!

Paul said...

Surely with a prepaid plan the account will shut off when your credit runs out?