Mobile phone contracts - tips for consumers

Shop around and do your research

Think about:

  • how long you want to be in a contract
  • how many calls and texts you will make and data downloads you will use
  • if you are going to use your mobile phone overseas
  • if there are additional costs for going over your phone call or data download limit.

Look for:

  • a mobile phone that is easy to use
  • a plan that you can afford
  • a service provider that has good network coverage in your area. A service provider is a company that connects your mobile phone to a network so you can make calls and send emails.

Remember:

  • you often pay more to cancel a contract before it ends
  • some services have extra charges - voicemail, call-forwarding, premium SMS, internet browsing, purchasing apps and international roaming
  • check the service provider’s website or visit their store to see if you will get coverage in the areas you use your mobile phone.

Before you sign a contract

  • Always read the contract – do not rely only on what the salesperson tells you.
  • Never sign a contract you do not understand – ask someone who can explain it to you.
  • Check the monthly bill amount and any additional charges.
  • Be sure you can afford these costs for the duration of the contract.
  • Think carefully before ‘going guarantor’ on a contract for someone under 18 – you will have to pay their bills if they cannot afford to.
  • Speak to the service provider about how much data you will need. For example, if you check emails or search the internet all the time, you may need 32GB instead of 16GB. You can check the provider’s website for more information on data usage.
  • Learn more about your rights and how to exercise them on our Contracts page.

Check and pay your bills

  • Check your data usage frequently – it may help you avoid large bills.
  • Contact your service provider if you see an unusual charge.
  • Pay your bills on time. If you don’t you may get charged additional late fees.

Warranties

  • Read your mobile phone warranty paperwork.
  • Remember, you have rights under the law. If your mobile phone stops working, you may be able to ask for a refund or a replacement.
  • Keep your receipts and contracts as proof of your purchase.
  • For more information, view our Warranties section.

When things go wrong

  • Contact the store where you bought your mobile phone, or your service provider.
  • If you have a problem with your bill or network connection, which you cannot resolve with your service provider, visit the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman website or call them on 1800 062 058.

Last updated: 15/03/2014

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