WE all buy phones, but what are our consumer rights under law?

Consumer watchdog is promoting Aussie consumer rights when buying a mobile ahead of World Consumer Rights Day, taking place this Saturday March 15. 

This year, consumer organisations globally are joining forces to highlight issues relating to mobile phone services and the rights consumers have, including getting a refund or replacement if the phone is faulty. 

Yesterday, ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, pledged to clamp down on telcos making dodgy sales advertising claims and unfair contract terms. 

According to consumer watchdog, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), consumers should ask the following questions before signing a mobile contract:

. Would a pre-paid plan be a better option for you / provide more certainty?

. How much do you use your phone and which services do you use most?

. Does the plan include all of the services you need, or would you have to pay extra?

. Do you understand the terms of the contract, including cancellation terms?

. Have you looked at the critical information summary for the plan?

. Can you get adequate coverage in key places such as at home and work for your voice calls and data needs?

If there’s a problem with your handset, you may be entitled to a repair, replacement or refund. If there is a problem with your phone service, you may be entitled to cancel your contract.

If consumers are unable to resolve a complaint directly, they should contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. 

The ACCC, has also released MoneySmart Teaching which helps young people understand their rights when they have problems with goods and services and to develop financial literacy. 

This activity guides students in exercising their Consumer Guarantee rights when purchasing a mobile phone, and was developed in collaboration with the telco ombudsman and Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA).  

“While this is an important tool to build awareness of consumer rights amongst a vulnerable group of consumers, it is important that all consumers, not just young people, are aware of their rights when they buy any product or service, including mobile phones,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“With so many choices about plans and devices, it can be quite confusing for consumers to understand their options. 

“While mobile service providers must provide clear and accurate information at the point of sale and in advertising, contracts and bills, consumers are often overwhelmed by the amount of information provided.”

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