Telstra clamps down on third-party subscription services

Telstra has announced that it will no longer offer third-party mobile subscriptions.

Telstra ends third-party bill shock

Telstra will no longer offer third-party mobile subscriptions to its customers from 3 December, addressing customer concerns about unexpected charges on their bills.

These charges typically relate to subscription purchases of content like mobile games, apps, and videos, which involve recurrent charges on a weekly or monthly basis.

“Last year, we directed service providers to improve the sign-up process for these services by introducing a double opt-in for subscription content purchased when browsing the web on mobile devices,” a Telstra statement explained.

“Telstra was the first telco to require this and the change aligned with the double opt-in process already in place for Premium SMS content. We also set up a team specifically trained to help customers with questions about these services.

“While these steps helped, some customers have continued to tell us they receive subscription charges for content that they don’t believe they signed up for, so we have taken this extra step.

“Third-party service providers will no longer be permitted to charge new mobile content subscriptions to our customers’ bills.

“Customers will be free to purchase subscription mobile content using alternative payment methods, however, the current arrangement where a customer can elect to purchase a subscription for third-party content and charge it to their Telstra bill, will end.”

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) welcomed Telstra’s announcement and is calling for Optus to follow suit.

An ACCAN survey found that as many as 1.9 million Australians have found unexpected third party charges on their phone bills in the previous six months.

ACCAN Chief Executive Teresa Corbin says “consumers have had to put up with these unexpected charges far too long and we urge Optus to follow Telstra’s lead”.

“We congratulate Telstra on stepping up and taking action to stop their customers from getting slugged by unwanted third-party subscriptions,” she said.

“Our survey found that there is a significant lack of awareness amongst consumers with just under 50 per cent of respondents being aware that they could have third-party services charged to their phone bills,” added Ms Corbin.

“The way the system is set up, consumers have to opt-out of these services, otherwise their phone is like an unsecured credit card and people have no idea what they’re being charged for.

“Consumers should remain vigilant and look out for any unexpected text messages they receive about third party services. They should reply STOP to any text messages they are unsure about and regularly check their bills for any unexpected charges.”

Have you been slugged with third-party subscription charges you don’t believe you signed up for? What did you do about it?

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    COMMENTS

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    Ted Wards
    30th Aug 2017
    10:30am
    Im with Vodafone on one of their red plans and you get so much data per month. I also get the third party text messages and stop them but I have never been charged extra and thats in 10 years. Most plans are about the amount of data.
    Old Geezer
    30th Aug 2017
    11:26am
    Be aware that you can be given free space in the cloud and then your data will be used up to backup everything on your phone into that cloud space.

    Premium SMS charge $5 plus just to send you a message and can mount up very quickly unless you stop them. I got them years ago now and rang the phone company who refunded the money as I had not asked for them to be sent. They also blocked them on my mobile.

    My biggest concern is that anyone can port anyone's mobile number. Just buy a SIM card then use someone else's mobile number to activate that SIM card. Then the scammers only need your login and can get your password sent to them on your old mobile number. They can also set up mobile banking using your bank details if you haven't even set it up yourself. So even if you don't use mobile or internet banking you can be affected if you have a mobile number.
    Rosret
    30th Aug 2017
    11:58am
    Thanks OG. That is a concern.
    BrianP
    30th Aug 2017
    12:10pm
    Everyone I know is getting these extra charges on their phones.

    Suggest you all check your last bill. You can then phone your service provider and tell them to stop these charges. Mine did and gave me a partial refund.
    Not a Bludger
    30th Aug 2017
    12:18pm
    About time Telstra - but why take another 3 months -why not now?

    30th Aug 2017
    3:54pm
    Good move - Telstra is acting with integrity and will take a hit to revenue , but good on them
    MD
    30th Aug 2017
    5:12pm
    Yes , we have been slugged for a 'service' that we did not request/authorize. Once aware - on receipt of monthly statement - I contacted our provider and following a couple of simple questions the charge was reversed and a block activated. We still receive txt's (if ignored) that will incur a charge. We have, just as YLC has suggested, responded by entering "stop" and found by this means it will prohibit the shonks.
    Thanks to YLC for the 'heads up' and everyone should be aware that there still exists countless shonky operators looking for opportunity.


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