Phone bills

24 August 2007
Let me say first that I do NOT like paying too much for anything I use. When it comes to bank fees and phone costs, that feeling is doubled.

Our Optus bill arrived yesterday. This is never a problem as the way we've set up our budget, we always have enough money in the bank to pay each bill as they arrive. I gave up just paying the bill without reading it a long time ago, but when I read through this bill, our line rental charges had been increased. Line rental used to cost us $34.54, now it is $50. and just for good measure: " from 1 October 2007, bill payments made with a credit, debit or charge card will incur a payment processing fee of 1% for residential and small and medium business customers." grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I started doing some research.

Just a few details, this optus bill of $106.74 was broken down like this:
Line rental 26 July - 18 Aug - $38.71
Line rental 19 Aug - 18 Sept - $50.00
Which came to: $88.71

National calls x 5 = $3.44
Calls to mobiles x 7 = $4.89
Local calls x 17 = $3.06
Calls to 1300 x 2 = 50 cents

Less discount = $3.56

Plus GST = $9.70

TOTAL $106.74

So for $11.89 in call costs, we had a bill for $106.74, in which the $34 line rental cost had been increased by roughly one third. One one of the charges was retrospective! This was the line rental increase which started on July 26, without our knowledge.

We are also paying Optus $39.95 for 12 GB of broadband usage. We have a Virgin mobile for which we are charged around $5 a month, but our last invoice was for 50 cents. LOL ! We have an account where we only pay for what we use. As you can see, we don't use our phones much anymore. When we started to simplify we cut it right back and use either Skype or emails instead. We thought of getting a VOIP phone but 10 minutes on that uses up approximately 1 Mb and the quality isn't always good, so we decided against it.

First up I phoned Optus to complain about the rising costs, the retrospective payment and told them we were thinking of leaving them and could we renegotiate a new deal. NO, they couldn't.

I looked into a few options but we've decided to go with Telstra. This is their deal:

Home phone - we'll probably go with their Homeline completed service which costs $26.95 a month, local calls are 20 cents each and STD calls are capped at $2 from 7pm - 12mn. We also get $25 worth of free calls to our own mobile. There is a bonus of a text message enabled cordless twin phone if we stay for 12 months on this plan. The phones comes when you sign up, if you leave before the 12 months, you have to repay the price of the phone - $150.

I'm not sure yet what we'll do with the broadband and mobile. If Telstra can offer a good enough deal, we'll transfer them over too.

I'd be interested to know from the Australian readers if you know of any good deals going and what the service is like on your own service. I have until 9 September to decide what to do and change over.