Mobile Complaints

Reporter: Tineka Everaardt

They're the cash cows of the communications industry...

Smartphones... More than fifty per cent of people now own them... and we're being warned as that number rises, so will bill shock...

Shirly Piscina has discovered.. taking a mobile overseas can end in disaster...

"It's disgusting, absolutely disgusting and now anyone that goes overseas i just say to you, do not take your mobile phone." Said Shirly

The forty-five year old had switched on international roaming... and thought she'd used her phone sparingly.. little did she know it was operating on it's on accord...

"i was just turning on the phone and everything was working in the background so it was on i might've been asleep but it was downloading." Said Shirly

Simon Cohen is the telecommunications industry ombudsman .. and says they've been swamped by more than 500 unhappy customers a day .. That's more than 52,000 new complaints from January to March this year.

2011 - 2181 complaints, 2012 - 4282 complaints. Of that almost four thousand three hundred blamed telcos for not warning them they were racking up huge bills. That's nearly double the amount of complaints the year before.

While TIO complaints about excess internet charges almost tripled... from nine hundred and eighty, to two thousand eight hundred...

Elise Davidson from the 'Australian communications consumer action network'... has these tips to avoid data dilemmas...

"it might be that you can put in place spend limit, so for instance if you're on a 60 a month plan you might say if it gets to $150 please just cut me off for that month. (cut) 39.10 you can also do things like use wifi on your smart phone when you're out and about to try and keep those data charges down, because they can be really high." Said Elise

You can also use an online calculator to estimate how much data you're likely to need .. to pick the best contract for you... there's a link on our website...

Currently there's no laws which force telcos to warn us if we've gone over our cap... but the industry watchdog is calling for change...

"we encourage telcos to (cut) provide them with the right tools, real time notifications, accurate online media usages so that consumers can check and control their own expenses." Said Simon

If you've got issues with your provider, you can always contact the TIO who provide a free resolution service.. but as Shirly Piscina has learnt.. it's not always an easy fix..

"The actual amount of charges for a week was $12,500, they refunded me $2500 where is the other $8500.. its disgusting.. I've basically been ripped off." Said Shirly