• You have Internet consumer rights
  • Learning yours could help you in an ISP crisis
  • Read through your rights here

If you are using an Internet service, you are entitled to certain rights and protections under the law. These rights ensure that you receive fair treatment and that your service provider meets certain standards of quality and reliability. 

For example, you have the right to accurate billing, transparent contract terms, and protection against unfair contract terms or misleading advertising. 

Additionally, you have the right to cancel a contract within a specified cooling-off period and to seek redress if you experience issues with your service. These rights are designed to ensure that consumers like you are treated fairly and can enjoy reliable and high-quality communication services.

The rules

Telcos are required to adhere to several regulations to protect consumers. 

  • The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code) outlines rules regarding sales, service, contracts, billing, credit and debt management, and switching between telcos. 
  • The Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard specifies how telcos should handle complaints.
  • The Customer Service Guarantee Standard (CSG Standard) ensures that consumers are protected from inadequate service. It also establishes deadlines that telcos must meet when connecting or repairing landline services or attending appointments.

Your Internet consumer rights

Customers who pay for broadband have certain rights and understanding those rights can go a long way to ensuring that you get the best possible service. Let’s explore them in more detail below:

Your right to accurate information

According to the TCP Code, you are entitled to receive accurate and transparent information about a product or service. 

This information should not be deceptive and applies to advertisements, as well as content on a telco's website or in marketing materials. 

This right is crucial because it enables you to:

  • Compare different telcos.
  • Understand the terms and conditions of telco contracts

Your right to choose a Telco

Customers are allowed to choose from any Telco that provides a service in the local area and your freedom to select a telecommunications provider is protected. You have the ability to choose who provides your Internet services, and you can switch telcos as per your contract terms.

According to the TCP Code, a telco cannot transfer your service to another provider without your permission. If they switch their network operator, they are obligated to inform you. You have the option to:

  • Agree to any new terms and transition to the new network.
  • Terminate your contract and switch to a different telco entirely.

It's essential to comprehend your telco contract. You might be required to provide notice or pay a termination fee if you decide to switch providers prematurely.

Your right to a quality service

According to Australian Consumer Law, you are entitled to anticipate that your product or service:

  • Functions correctly
  • Is free of defects
  • Is of satisfactory quality

The telco must disclose whether a product includes the features you requested. They must also ensure that spare parts and repair facilities are accessible for a reasonable period of time if they've supplied you with any hardware such as routers or modems.

If you encounter any issues, report them to your telco. If you are dissatisfied with their handling of the problem, you have the right to file a complaint.

Your right to a prompt landline connection or repair

The Customer Service Guarantee Standard specifies the timeframe within which the telco must connect the service and repair any faults for landlines.

Telstra customers with severe medical conditions may qualify for priority assistance. This program ensures faster connection and fault repairs for landline services.

Your right to transparent billing

Telcos are obligated to provide you with access to various billing details, which may differ based on the service you use.

They might offer tools that enable you to:

  • Monitor your expenditure
  • Receive notifications when you reach a specific threshold of your monthly allowance

If you encounter difficulties paying your bills, notify your telco as soon as possible. They might be able to assist if you are experiencing financial hardship.

Your right to manage direct debits

Some telcos prefer customers to pay through direct debit. According to the TCP Code:

  • You can review the charges before the transaction.
  • You can request copies of bills dating back up to 2 years.
  • You have a simple method to revoke the direct debit authorisation.
  • The telco can only withdraw money on the date you specify.
  • The telco must cancel your direct debit within 3 working days of your request.

Your telco is prohibited from withdrawing money via direct debit that you have not authorised. This rule applies even if the money is related to an unresolved complaint.

Your right to lodge a complaint

If you have a problem with your Internet service, your initial step should be to file a complaint with your telco. They are required to adhere to a specific procedure for addressing your complaint.

If you are dissatisfied with how they handled your complaint, you have the option to escalate the matter to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

Need help changing Internet provider? Give us a call

If you need some help or guidance choosing a new Internet provider, we are here to help. Our team of experts is ready and willing to find the ideal plan for your individual needs. Give us a call today.