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9 March 2021

Media release: Time for telcos to come clean on consumer bills

Consumer NZ welcomes the Commerce Commission’s announcement that telcos will have to front up and give mobile phone customers decent information on exactly what they’re paying for.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said mobile phone bills provided by Spark and Vodafone didn’t provide customers with a breakdown of usage and limited information was given on the companies’ apps.

“Without good information on usage and spend, it’s much harder for consumers to work out whether they’re getting value for money,” Duffy said.

“The upshot is consumers can be paying much more than they should. That’s something we’ve found when we’ve looked at customers’ bills.”

Today’s announcement means Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees will have to provide at least 12 months’ usage and spend information to mobile customers. This information is expected to be provided by the end of October.

The telcos will also have to provide an annual summary, which includes a prompt for customers to consider whether they are on the right plan.

In addition, telcos are expected to support the development of tools that allows consumers to easily weigh up plans.

“Giving customers decent information on their usage is essential to ensuring the mobile market works well. We’re pleased the industry has acknowledged this and has agreed to make changes,” Duffy said.

A suitable comparison tool, provided it was independent, would also help consumers navigate the market and make informed decisions about what plan is best for them.

Duffy said Consumer NZ would be closely watching the industry’s progress.

“If these changes are done well, there will be real benefits for consumers. It should be much easier to see whether you’re really getting bang for your telco buck.”

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