Telstra’s ‘trust us, this bill is correct’ policy leaves pensioners in the dark

“The cynics out there might assume that Telstra is trying to reduce its billing complaints record with its new “summary” bills policy,” said CPSA Policy Coordinator Charmaine Crowe.

Telstra customers now have to either go online, or call Telstra to get an itemised bill.

“The Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman received over 100,000 complaints about Telstra’s landline service in the 2008/ 2009 financial year, with most complaints relating to billing and payments.1 Are summary bills an attempt to reduce complaints?”

“Itemised bills give customers information about the costs of their phone usage and are essential if customers wish to dispute a charge.”

“Many people, especially pensioners and others on low-incomes, do not have access to the internet, so no one should assume that customers can jump online and get a run-down of the calls they’ve made.”

“While customers can get an itemised bill by contacting Telstra, the telco has made no attempt to inform its customers of this on current bills. Unless everyone has read recent media reports, many customers will be unaware of their right to have paper, itemised bills.”

“CPSA calls on Telstra to scrap summary bills so that all customers know what they’re paying for.”

1Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman 2008/2009 Annual Report. Contact the TIO for a copy of this Annual Report on 1800 062 058.