Beware of 3G bill shock

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Beware of 3G bill shock

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning consumers to be wary of the high charges that come with excessive data usage on new 3G mobile devices.

With the nationwide popularity of the recently released 3G iPhone, the ACCC said it wants to make sure consumers know the risks of usage caps and excess charges that come with data usage.

"In the case of smartphones, consumers can download greater amounts of information from the internet than ever before. With this, comes the potential for them to exceed their phone plan value and incur considerable additional charges,” said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.

"The ACCC is particularly concerned that consumers may be misled if they are not made sufficiently aware that their data allocations can be exceeded - at significant cost.”

Samuel said the ACCC has asked many of the leading Australian mobile providers to report what information they provide to customers to help them avoid these extra charges, and if there is still potential for customers to be misled.

He advises 3G users to examine mobile plans carefully and to sign contracts with carriers who provide data usage monitoring services, including SMS and internet-based data usage checks.

"Not all carriers offer high volume data plans, so we encourage consumers to compare the offers of each carrier, taking particular note of the excess data usage fees,” said Samuel.

"Consumers must think twice before signing contracts with a mobile phone carrier without upfront disclosure of all the fees and charges, including excess data charges.”
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