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View Full Version : OPTUS: Calls to VOIP not included in plan?



bunkey
11th September 2008, 07:56 PM
Hey guys,

My bill was a little weird for the last month - I was charged a little extra than normal, so I called and asked why the charges were laid.

My total call usage was $226 but I was only credited for $223. I'm on the $79 plan which gives me $550 call credits. Yeah, yeah, it's three dollars more... but I didn't sign up to a plan only to be charged more, especially when I was nowhere near my call credit limit.

ANYWAY, the girl on the phone told me calls to VoIP services weren't included in the plan. WTF? Does this sound right??? I questioned her about it but she seemed adamant.

And, yes, I'd made calls to SOME VoIP numbers... but she started rattling off numbers to me claiming they were VoIP calls but I know they're numbers for a traditional landline, so I am not convinced.

I ended up getting a credit because I told her at no point in the contract does it state calls to VoIP services aren't included. And how the hell am I supposed to know if a call to Joe Bloggs is a VoIP call? Sounds to me like they bungled my call credit and she's covered their ass.

Can anyone clarify?

decryption
11th September 2008, 07:58 PM
Umm, to call a "VOIP" device on your mobile, it needs to be a traditional number (i.e: (03) 99252218), which shouldn't be charged any differently than a call to non-VOIP phone.

Optus woman is stupid. Optus is stupid. I can't understand their billing.

bunkey
11th September 2008, 07:59 PM
Yeah, exactly what I thought. What is the difference in calling a "VOIP" number as opposed to a traditional number?

They really shit me.

decryption
11th September 2008, 08:02 PM
My suggestion - call the TIO (http://www.tio.com.au/). They'll give you a reference number which you give to a special customer relations hotline at Optus. These people are a level above the average phone monkeys and can actually do something. Optus takes complaints made via the TIO seriously as it costs them money, so if after contacting Optus and not getting satisfaction, the TIO is the next course of action and most of the time, it works great.

kantush
11th September 2008, 10:41 PM
one of those idiots...I don't know what these ppl get by being so adamant about some shit that's totally wrong..

bunkey
11th September 2008, 11:06 PM
Thanks decryption - might give it a go. The fact they gave me a refund might present a problem though, wouldn't it? I'm sure I heard the woman say "one-off refund" so I hope they don't pull this crap again.

DeKa
12th September 2008, 10:11 AM
These are the call types excluded from your cap:


Excluded from your Call and Text Cap Value: The ‘yes’ Cap Plan for iPhone 3G Call and Text Cap value excludes calls to 124 YES (937), International Voice, International Roaming and Diversion, calls to MobileSat, Premium SMS, Optus iZoo Browsing, Optus iZoo Downloads, Content pack subscription fees, Mobile Internet Usage, 966* Zoo, Directory Assistance, VOIP services and usage, Premium Video, Operator Assistance, and 19XX services. Normal charges apply for those calls and services that are not part of the included value. The ‘yes’ Cap Plan for iPhone 3G included value excludes 124 YES (937), International Voice, International Roaming and Diversion, calls to MobileSat, Premium SMS, Optus iZoo Browsing, Optus iZoo Downloads, Content packs, Mobile Internet Usage, 966* Zoo, Directory Assistance, VOIP services and usage, Premium Video, Operator Assistance, and 19XX services. Normal charges apply for those calls and services that are not part of the included value.

Did you call directory assistance? It is interesting to note that they specifically point out that calls to "VOIP services and usage" are excluded. As others have said, how on earth would they know, given you're just calling a DID!

bdude
12th September 2008, 10:20 AM
I assume when they say "VOIP services and usage" wouldn't they mean things like running Skype on your phone?

gelfie
12th September 2008, 10:27 AM
I wondered about that clause too. Perhaps they mean using a VoIP app on your phone. In order to avoid actual call costs.

I don't suppose you were MAKING VoIP calls from your iPhone? Surely they have packet sniffers that would alert them of that. And it sounds like something a phone company wouldn't want you doing.

blakat
12th September 2008, 01:04 PM
All VOIP PSTN services have a different prefix to normal exchange services (i.e. iinet vic are all on 03 9029) it's is completely technically feasible for Optus to charge a different/ premium price for these services. particularly if they don't have as good exchange prices for data to the VoIP providers as they do with normal fixed wire providers. B.T.W if that's the case all the TIO can say is "that's loverly" leave these poor people alone - they are an office of last resort.

decryption
12th September 2008, 01:18 PM
All VOIP PSTN services have a different prefix to normal exchange services (i.e. iinet vic are all on 03 9029) it's is completely technically feasible for Optus to charge a different/ premium price for these services. particularly if they don't have as good exchange prices for data to the VoIP providers as they do with normal fixed wire providers. B.T.W if that's the case all the TIO can say is "that's loverly" leave these poor people alone - they are an office of last resort.

Damn, well that sucks :(

fleegle
12th September 2008, 01:48 PM
All VOIP PSTN services have a different prefix to normal exchange services (i.e. iinet vic are all on 03 9029) it's is completely technically feasible for Optus to charge a different/ premium price for these services.

Unless you've memorised all those prefixes, how, as a customer, are you supposed to know if a phone number you're calling is a VOIP number? I'd be pretty pissed off if this happened to me.

blakat
12th September 2008, 02:16 PM
Unless you've memorised all those prefixes, how, as a customer, are you supposed to know if a phone number you're calling is a VOIP number? I'd be pretty pissed off if this happened to me.

The original proposal by acma had a VoIP number prefix of 0550 however the services also allow for geographic numbering, which poses an interesting problem for consumers, if you have a look on the acma number allocation register (NUMB (http://web.acma.gov.au/numb/)) you can download a spreadsheet with all the number allocations for Australia. you'll see that the VoIP providers are allocated like any other geographic numbers. So; assuming that Optus' charging is based on this (which it may not be) and particularly after looking at the wording of their terms I don't really thing this is the case - it would however be technically possible :) maybe someone should ask Optus to clarify that aspect of their terms of service.

countmacula
12th September 2008, 02:30 PM
I don't understand...

At work we ported our old Telstra land lines to a VOIP provider as we moved and wanted to keep our numbers.

What happens here??

I don't want to be charged for calls to work if I'm out :/

blakat
12th September 2008, 02:35 PM
I don't understand...

At work we ported our old Telstra land lines to a VOIP provider as we moved and wanted to keep our numbers.

What happens here??

I don't want to be charged for calls to work if I'm out :/

I'm posing hypothetical and technical possibilities... if you're really that concerned call Optus and ask.

fleegle
12th September 2008, 03:00 PM
... if you have a look on the acma number allocation register (NUMB (http://web.acma.gov.au/numb/)) you can download a spreadsheet with all the number allocations for Australia.

So you just need to have access to a spreadsheet, which as countmacula points out may be inaccurate anyway.

I hope that Optus have trained all their operator assistance staff to inform customers that the number they are about to be connected to is a VOIP number and may cost extra :rolleyes:

I'll stop being a pain now :D

blakat
12th September 2008, 03:28 PM
So you just need to have access to a spreadsheet, which as countmacula points out may be inaccurate anyway.

I hope that Optus have trained all their operator assistance staff to inform customers that the number they are about to be connected to is a VOIP number and may cost extra :rolleyes:

I'll stop being a pain now :D

be a pain all you like, it adds to the hypothetical discussion, if someone has an actual Optus phone and an Optus acutal account who can call them up to ask for a clarification on whether this is them covering their arse for outbound VoIP calls not going against the cap or whether it's the far more unlikely but much more awesomerea hypothetical situation described :)

coljac
12th September 2008, 06:29 PM
This doesn't make any sense. As others have pointed out, you're just calling a phone number - if and when that call leaves the PSTN and becomes VoIP is not your business. You're paying for Optus to deliver that call to its destination whether it's a PSTN-IP gateway or your grandmother's rotary phone. I'd really like to know what the verdict is on this one - call back and speak to another, more knowledgable person.

If this is true, imagine the turmoil in the (soon to be extinct) VoIP industry in Australia!

BTW I have a voip line from iinet victoria and it's (03) 8516.

blakat
12th September 2008, 07:05 PM
This doesn't make any sense. As others have pointed out, you're just calling a phone number - if and when that call leaves the PSTN and becomes VoIP is not your business. You're paying for Optus to deliver that call to its destination whether it's a PSTN-IP gateway or your grandmother's rotary phone. I'd really like to know what the verdict is on this one - call back and speak to another, more knowledgable person.

If this is true, imagine the turmoil in the (soon to be extinct) VoIP industry in Australia!

BTW I have a voip line from iinet victoria and it's (03) 8516.

You probably do, since it's a listed prefix of Chime communications which is the registered body for the iinet numbers. Re-reading it could be read the wrong way, sure, but all iinet in vic is on 9020, among others.

What i'm trying to suggest here in a very obtuse random around about letting people think for themselves manner (which clearly is failing) is, that if they are looking for clarification on the terms of their telephony contract, MAYBE THEY SHOULD SPEAK TO THEIR CARRIER... rather than bitching to the TIO immediately or whining to a random internet forums.

decryption
12th September 2008, 07:38 PM
MAYBE THEY SHOULD SPEAK TO THEIR CARRIER... rather than bitching to the TIO immediately or whining to a random internet forums.

Speak to the carrier - they give you bullshit - you go to the TIO.

tekrox
13th September 2008, 01:40 PM
Speak to the carrier - they give you bullshit - you go to the TIO.

You don't even really *have* to goto the TIO, just threaten to; As a customer if you make a TIO Complaint against a Carrier of any kind, and that complaint is raised with your Carrier.

Even if you - as the customer - is totally wrong, and your carrier has been flowers rainbows, The TIO will still fine the carrier for the privilege.

If your getting crap from your Mobile Carrier, Landline, VoIP, ISP, etc - Talk to them, ask to speak to a manager - explain that if the issue is not resolved you are willing to speak to the TIO.

In most cases you'll get what you want - becuase its cheaper for a business to give you whatever it was you were complaining about - than the base TIO 'fine' is.

blakat
13th September 2008, 04:31 PM
Why do people assume that as soon as you call the TIO there is an immediate fine applied to the carrier? this is utter nonsense....

The TIO can only investigate a complaint if:


The consumer has given the service provider a reasonable opportunity to address the complaint;
The complaint is made within 12 months of the consumer becoming aware of the circumstances surrounding the complaint. The time limit may be extended by a further 12 months in certain cases;
Legal proceedings have not commenced;
The complainant was resident in Australia at the time that the circumstances surrounding the event occurred;
The complaint is made in good faith;


The TIO cannot handle complaints concerning:


The setting of tariffs and charges;
Privately-owned telecommunications equipment, other than the rented handset supplied with a basic phone service and mobile handsets sold as a part of a bundled contract;
Cabling, except cabling up to the rented handset;
Business directories (however, the TIO does have an agreement with Yellow Pages that allows us to help resolve some complaints);
Matters of telecommunications policy
The 000 emergency service;
Anti-competitive behaviour or restrictive business practices; or
The content of ‘information services’, eg. 1900 numbers and Internet content.


ANDDDD.....

Q: What will the TIO do when it receives my complaint?
A1: Telephone complaints to 1800 062 058 or visits to our office at Level 3, 595 Collins St, Melbourne

A TIO staff member will talk with you and record the details of your complaint.

If we do not have the power to investigate your complaint issue, we will do our best to refer you to an organisation that can help you.

If we have the power to investigate your complaint issue:

We will ask you if you have contacted the telephone or internet service provider to explain your complaint and ask for help resolving it.
If you have not done this, we will ask you to contact the company's Customer Service department. The company has 30 days to finalise a complaint from the day you tell them about it.

If you have already raised your complaint with the company, we will classify the matter as a "Level 1" complaint and we will record information from you about:
how the company responded
why you think the complaint is not resolved, and
how you think it can be resolved.

We will assess your information and decide either:

not to take further action about your complaint, e.g. because the company may have proposed a fair and reasonable resolution.
At this stage, you can ask for your complaint to be reviewed by our Review Officer if you are not satisfied with the TIO's decision.

OR

to refer you a high level complaints area of your telephone or internet company.
It is a standard part of our process to give a company another opportunity to resolve a complaint directly with their customer. Up to 90% of complaints are resolved through this process of direct referral.

The high level complaints area could be a particular person, if the telephone or internet service provider is a small company, or it could be a special team. These company representatives have the authority to investigate and propose resolutions to complaints.

The company will have 10 days to investigate and propose a resolution to your complaint to you.
We will ask you to contact us again if your complaint is not resolved within 10 days. At that point, we may be able to take a more active role in helping to resolve the matter.

faux
14th September 2008, 01:22 PM
So does this mean that if I were to buy one of those international calling cards, or if I call my SkypeToGo number, I get charged extra in addition to the 49 dollars I pay a month? That's bullcrap if they do that.

The call types included section says it includes all national calls. Those access numbers are national numbers! I understand the logic behind paying extra for 19xx, directory assistance and what not, but if they charge me extra to 1) make international calls and 2) to make international calls using a calling card, that's too much! :eek:

I'm currently on the older cap plan, signed up for it before Feb last year, so international calls are included in my cap. And I make a decent amount of international calls a month!