Third Party Mobile Charges
Telstra has announced that it will no longer support/offer third party mobile subscriptions from 3rd December 2017.
Many users have a lack of awareness when it comes to these additional charges on their mobile reports and end up with large bills for services that in some circumstances, they were not aware they agreed to.
Third Party Subscriptions/Direct Carrier Billing/Content Purchases
These are all additional charges – one off or ongoing, from third parties, but billed through a telco carrier such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Have you ever entered a competition like channel 7’s Cash Cow, or voted for a contestant on Australia’s Got Talent? These are examples of one-off content purchases and vary in amount from 20 cents to over a dollar. How about getting your daily horoscope, or receiving challenging quiz questions via SMS? These are usually weekly subscriptions that have the potential to cost a company more than $300 annually per user. That’s a significant cost over a company’s entire mobile fleet.
What is the industry doing to stop this?
ACCAN (Australian Communications Consumer Action Network) have congratulated Telstra on taking the action to stop supporting third party charges and urge other carriers, Optus and Vodafone, to take similar measures. They are also asking for carriers to have stricter regulations around third party billing.
The additional safe guards they are looking for include:
- Compliance monitoring of third party charged services, with published reporting to the regulator
- Broadening the existing code to cover all third party billing services
- Setting spending caps for post-paid and pre-paid mobile services to zero
- Introducing an overall opt-in arrangement for all third party billed services, so that the facility needs to be activated on request of the account holder, instead of the current opt-out default
So hopefully there will be more regulation soon to protect users.
How can I protect myself?
The general rule is don’t click on banner adverts and popups while using phone apps or social media. Clicking on these links are generally how people sign up to third party charges. This usually leads to another link to enter your details. So while it is easy to click a few times and be subscribed, you still need to actually “click”.
What do you do next?
Accidents can happen. If you have accidently subscribed to a third party charge, then find the SMS confirmation and SMS STOP to the number advised. Remember, even if you STOP the subscription, you will be charged for whatever content you receive before the STOP has taken effect.
If users or reporting managers see any unexpected charges on bills, or want more information on third party charges please contact us to discuss.
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