What A Shock-er! 7M Suffer Bill Shock 2011

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Think twice before signing mobile contracts as two-thirds of us pay for inclusions we don’t use.

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And it seems almost half of all users (or around 7 million) suffered a bill shockers last year -$557 million worth of a shock, in fact.

The State of the Mobile Nation Report, from Macquarie University’s Faculty of Business and Economics- supported by  amaysim –  revealed another big shocker – 68% of mobile users don’t utilise all of their ‘included value’ in their plan, with “consistent” under-utilisation of ‘included services’ such as minutes and megabytes.

Consumers experience bill shock on average twice a year with $40 the average over spend. 

And it seems consumers on a 2 year plan were the worst users of their inclusions – with only a quarter stating they use all of their plan’s included value.

And women are better than men when understanding their call inclusions, although only a third (36%) of women claim to use their included value compared to just 28% of men.

But while we dont know our inclusions, we  exceed our plans by around $80 a year, The State of the Mobile Nation Report showed.

“Only a third of consumers felt that they use all of the inclusions in their phone plan and even then, they estimated that they don’t use their inclusions for two thirds of the year,” Dr David Gray, senior lecturer in Marketing from Macquarie University’s said.

However, its not huge data consumption that’s eating up our credit – its phone calls that are the biggest driver of over-spend, followed by data usage and texts.

Consumers on contracts are more likely to experience bill shock – especially those on a 12 month cap- while those on SIM-only deals reported the lowest incidence of bill shock.

“The research shows that bill shock is consistently experienced by consumers signing up to traditional plans. They are being offered lots of choice but it’s not translating into value,” Dr Gray warned.

Amaysim CEO Rolf Hansen reckons “It’s an epidemic.

 “Consumers need to be more assertive about their bills. It would seem that people have resigned themselves to not having billing hassles solved, with only one in three bothering to query an unexpectedly high bill. My advice is to speak up – eventually you’ll be heard!”

Hansen was also quick to make a plug for his low cost service:

 

“At amaysim, we have no lock in contracts and make it easy to understand exactly what you get for your money.” 

Telco consumers have been conditioned to accept the status quo, however, Dr Gray believes that the telco market “is starting to move in the right direction” – due to regulatory pressure and increasingly savvy consumers.

“Our first wave of research in this study indicated an appetite for change with 46% of people planning to switch [telco] this year.”

Telstra and Vodafone have introduced anti shock therapy in the past year, alerting users when they exceed their plan limits.

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