Real Life

Being taken advantage of by phone company

Kevin Milne gives consumer advice about being taken advantage of by a phone company.
consumer, kevin milne, phone company rules

After my husband died, I found it distressing getting phone bills addressed to us both. So I called up my telco and asked to have his name removed from what was our joint account. They said the only way I could do this was to set up a new account solely under my name. This seemed fine. But when I got my new account I couldn’t help notice that most of the charges had gone up. Apparently, the new charges apply to all new accounts. I feel like my bereavement has been taken advantage of. What do you think?

I think you have every right to call up your telco and complain. It seems to me that your bereavement has been taken advantage of, though probably unwittingly. I think if you make it clear that the only reason you were setting up the new account was to remove your late husband’s name from your transactions, they may reconsider the increases. Any telco worth its salt would not wish to heap further stress on a customer who is dealing with a painful loss. I suspect that the increases have automatically gone onto your account with minimal human input. It’s not unusual to hold over increased charges until there is a new contract. But once you tell them your circumstances, they will surely set the account up under only your name with exactly the same charges as before. So give their customer service people a ring. This situation should never have occurred but I suspect when you make your point to them, they will agree with you. If they don’t, write back to me.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [email protected], or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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