Disputing your bill, what could cost more and understanding your billing period.
If you disagree with something on your bill:
- Contact your phone or internet company as soon as you find it.
- Ask them to explain the extra charges.
- If they still don't make sense, tell them you dispute the charges you disagree with.
Do not stop paying your bill.
It's best to pay the whole bill and dispute the extra amount you disagree with. If the provider has made a mistake, you will get a refund or a credit on your account.
If you don't pay, you could be charged late payment fees. Or, worse, you may be cut off and your bill sent to a debt collector.
If you can't pay the full amount, try to at least pay what you know you owe. Providers normally allow customers who are struggling to pay to pay large bills the chance the pay in instalments. This is an option if it turns out charges were correct.
If you are having payment problems there are things you can do to get back on track.
Surprise bill charges
Overseas charges: If overseas use is not in your phone plan, you'll pay extra to make calls, send texts and use data. These charges can be much higher than you expect. Make sure you understand the cost and any limits on use.
Charges for going over data, minutes and texts: When you go over your monthly limit of texts, calls and data, you are often charged at much higher rates than you're used to. Pay attention to how much you are using and what the rates are. If it happens regularly, upgrading to a bigger plan might be cheaper than paying excess fees each month.
Expired discounts: When you sign up for a new plan, there can be joining deals with discounts, free add ons and other perks, eg 50% off, bonus data, free subscriptions to streaming services. Check when these discounts finish to avoid getting nasty surprises on your bill.
Charges not covered on your plan: Check your terms and conditions to see what is covered, eg voicemail calls.
Your billing period — or billing cycle — are the dates you're charged between, eg from 25 of one month to 24 of the next month. You can ask your provider to change these dates, eg if it would be more convenient to be billed the day after you're paid.
It's important to know when your billing cycle ends if you want to switch providers or cancel your contract, for another reason.
Make a complaint
Speak to your provider first. Summarise the issue and what you would like them to do to fix it.
Telecommunications Dispute Resolution may be able to help if:
- you and your provider can't agree
- it has been more than six weeks since you complained and your issue still isn't resolved.
Making a complaint(external link) — Telecommunications Dispute Resolution