Check before you sign up to a service
Different companies offer a wide range of deals on mobile, land line phones, and the internet (telecommunications services). Shop around to find the best deal.
Before you sign up with a particular provider, make sure you read the terms and conditions of the contract. If you are getting a free mobile phone, you usually have to sign up to a fixed-term contract for a minimum period (usually 2 years). If you end the contract early, there may be a penalty fee.
With broadband, you can either play a flat monthly fee or pay as you go based on usage.
Services such as phone, mobile and internet are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act. So if you have a problem with your phone or broadband connection, or hardware such as a modem, go back to the company to get it sorted out.
Common problems with phone and broadband services include:
Bill shock with mobile roaming: If you are traveling overseas with your mobile phone, check how much it will cost and make sure you understand the charges.
Fixed-term contracts: Some providers will ask you to sign up to a fixed-term contract, usually for a number of years. If you stop using the services earlier than this term ends, you will have to pay a fee. Check what options you have before signing up.
Changing fees or services: Some contracts allow providers to change their fees or services without asking you. However, they should at least tell you when something changes.
Poor reception: You may find you don’t get good phone reception or fast internet speeds at home. The easiest way to check this before you sign a contract is to ask the company what areas their network covers. Some mobile phones have better network coverage in different areas.
Checklist to help avoid problems
To decide which company and which offer suits you the best, consider these questions:
How much can you afford? Compare the price plans from different providers to find one that suits your budget.
- What services do you need and do you need to buy extra equipment?
- Is the mobile phone service a monthly contract or pre-pay?
- How will you know if you are over the monthly data limit?
- How long are you locked into the contract for?
- Can the company change its fees or services without asking you?
- Does the company give technical help?