Should the ACCC stop Telco's advertising $X worth of calls?

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones & Devices' started by power, Mar 22, 2011.

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  1. power

    power Member

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    I've been thinking about this for a little while on and off and to me the idea of $X worth of calls is deceptive as it gives you no idea of the rate, how the calls are timed and flagfalls.

    To me saying you get $X worth of calls is deceptive and designed to trick people.

    thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  2. platinum

    platinum Member

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    Yeah I hate this practice, makes it near impossible to quickly compare plans.
    They've basically taken the dollar value and made it worthless.
     
  3. hak

    hak Member

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    haha so so true, 29 a month giving 300 in value makes no sense to me...

    but it works and the customers come pouring in

    though this is not as bad as the "unlimited" fiasco
     
  4. bl4ck32

    bl4ck32 Member

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    Exactly. Isnt there something that protects the consumer from misleading advertising? (*assuming that this misleads people in some way or another)
     
  5. kreegor

    kreegor Member

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    I was on a $30 plan with Telstra that was advertised as giving me $25 worth of calls and $5 worth of data.... I was on this plan for close to 4 years and quite often blew it out and ended up paying $50 to $70 for the month.

    I am now on the Vodafone $29 cap plan which is advertised as having $180 worth of calls. I may use my phone more because I started a new job and don't have a phone at my desk and have never blown the $29 plan limit.

    I can't remember what the call rates for Telstra were but clearly I am getting a better deal with Vodafone. This is definitely not an illusion either.
     
  6. Recharge

    Recharge Member

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    yes, they should, it's completely false information.
    $x worth of anything becomes worthless when there are So many different variables such as flagfall, cost of time per unit price and other variables.

    it's one big wank job over the entire industry.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  7. OP
    OP
    power

    power Member

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    it's like they are selling chips in a casino really, but the chips are all worth different amounts and are 5 different colours and each colour is worth a different amount and those chips will cost you a different amount to play each different game in the casino.

    $X of what is the question, and to me it should really come under false and misleading.
     
  8. BuuBox

    BuuBox Member

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    These sort of cap plans were released in Australia in 2003 by Hutchinson 3. As such the ACCC has had 8 years to investigate and act but haven't. Presumably this means they accept such plans.

    Telstra tried the X minutes and X SMS type plans ("Ultimate" and "Ultimate II" plans) and from all reports they were a flop and have been removed from sale.

    Remember you can get plans with unlimited national calls and SMS in Australia for $45 per month. The cheapest I can find in the USA is also $45 per month. When you consider the differences between the two countries, and the fact that the plan in the USA is prepaid from a reseller, then we have it pretty good. If you look at handset subsidies, then Australian companies offer even bigger discounts than those in the USA especially for iPhone handsets (think half the price over the life of the contract).

    Long story short, spend 10 minutes with a calculator comparing plans in your monthly spend level and the confusion will be lifted. And when you factor in monthly cost, handset subsidies and network coverage, the Australian mobile market is remarkably competitive.
     
  9. Goobers

    Goobers Member

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    I dont see the issue, the shop has everything you need to work it out, they provide free display phones which all have a calculator in them, they has fliers all over the shop telling you what the flagfall and unit rate is, and they even conveniently provide you with an hour long wait to be served, so you have ample time to work out the prices.

    thinly veiled I dont know how to use a calculator thread.
     
  10. dcyloo

    dcyloo Member

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    It's an advertising gimmick.

    Two companies offer the same cap plan that you pay.

    One offers $450 of calls and text, the other offers $400.

    Who do you go for? Of course the easiest one is to look at the one that gives you $50 more. But look deeper... the one that gives you $50 more has a higher flagfall, call charge and SMS cost than the other.

    While you can work everything out with a calculator and let yourself compare on whether your calling and SMS patterns would fall in under the cap for both companies, it's not something you can easily do off-hand without a few of your previous bills and most certainly not something you do at a shop with the shop assistant hovering over you trying to sell you this nifty fancy fandangled new mobile phone!

    The whole gyp of $0.25 or $0.28 per SMS is crap also. It costs the carrier approximately $0.01-0.02 worth of data to send the item to the other phone. "Charging" $0.25 for it is the biggest rort known to telecommunications.
     
  11. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Member

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    Aside from the obvious difficulty in distinguishing plan differences and inflating the perceived value, these plans also have a rather nasty bite on them:

    If you pay $10 and get "$10 mobile credit" with a rate of 10c/minute then if you run over your cap you would be charged 60c for a call that lasts six minutes.
    If you pay $10 and get "$100 mobile credit" with a rate of $1/minute then if you run over your cap you would be charged $6 for a call that lasts six minutes.

    Under both schemes you get the same amount of call time regardless of how they price it, but the higher credit value sounds much better when really it is much worse.

    I'm not crying about it because I do the calculations and make sure I get a good deal. The question one has to ask is should Joe Bloggs be protected from this sort of thing because he is (possibly) lazy or ignorant? Is he being intentionally mislead and is that something that needs to be dealt with?
     
  12. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Member

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    You can charge whatever you want to for anything. I could sell you a banana for 10c or $100 and there is no moral issue with that. The problem would be if a number of carriers are colluding to inflate rates above what the market would determine to be acceptable. You could perhaps argue that this is the case, though it is worthwhile considering that the price they put on the data use isn't set because it costs them that amount to transfer the data - it also covers the deployment and maintenance of their mobile towers, the training and wages of their employees, their marketing costs, etc. If you look at the financial performance of the telecos you can see they're not printing money in the way that some of them used to, so it would seem that there isn't as much 'fat' in the offerings as you'd think.
     
  13. othy

    othy Member

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    They should be forced into providing a comparison rate like the banks.

    --

    othy
     
  14. dcyloo

    dcyloo Member

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    The difficulty that I see in the Australian market is that there's very little competition to "drive down" SMS prices - even if the pricing is a perceived pricing structure.

    All of the 3 major carriers sell SMS at $0.25 or $0.28 per text message. The Australian population in reality only have that to work off. Compare the carrier pricing of SMS charges from overseas and only then can you see the disparity in SMS charges.

    While I agree that the "high" SMS prices are generally masked by the "high cap limits" given with the plans bought to provide the net effect of the SMS being relatively cheap to utilise, the pricing structure as advertised feels a little colluded.
     
  15. BuuBox

    BuuBox Member

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    Even on a Telstra $49 cap, the effective SMS rate is less than $0.04 each.
     
  16. General_Cartman

    General_Cartman Member

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    The biggest joke is calling it a "Cap" plan when nothing is capped.
     
  17. Maelstrom

    Maelstrom Member

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    Here is an example of a large reseller offering SMS at a much lower price:

    http://www.virginmobile.com.au/mobile-plans-pricing/pre-paid-plans/#beancounter
    (You may need to click the Beancounter tab)

    If it was something that a large section of the population cared about enough to change for then other carriers would change their pricing structure to match or beat it. Obviously this is not the case and hence we have the current state of affairs.
     
  18. bennyg

    bennyg Member

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    Yeah my dad's on an old "$29" cap plan that has $29 worth of calls. (Yes he's a luddite)

    I was almost defrauded (long story) into a 24 month optus "$29" cap plan with 1Gb and huge flagfall and /min charges that reduced the "$180" to about $60 worth at the same rates as my dad's plan.

    I'm now on a TPG $15/month plan with "$330" of non-TPG calls at a lower rate than optus, $300 odd TPG-TPG calls and 1Gb data. On a monthly "contract" :) though 13/1300/1800 is excluded and of course, no phone. But buying outright is 1/2 the price it works out to be if you get a handset through 24 month contract.

    All on the same goddamn physical Optus towers... go figure. It's all business.
     
  19. oculi

    oculi Member

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    yep its stupid and confusing, the (prepaid) plan i'm on at the moment isn't a "cap" and it took ages to figure out how much it actually cost.

    thread needs a pole.
     
  20. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    In speaking about this recently with some friends who have just moved here from Denmark, they don't have anything like this cap plan stuff over there apparently. And they think it's just silly, misleading and difficult to compare.

    Personally I don't have a problem with it really, but that may be because I rarely if ever go beyond about even half of the cap of my plan (currently $29/month for $450 worth of calls).
     

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