Someone Else Is Paying for My Internet, and I Have No Idea Who

Okay so this is probably the weirdest thing I've ever asked but TBH it's more of an ethical dilemma.

I moved into a place with NBN and when I went to connect my service they told me port 1 was already active, and upon plugging in my router, sure enough it's working. That was 6 months ago.

Since then I've written and called Telstra THREE times, and in two separate emails they say for the security of the account they will neither A) tell the other person they are still paying for the connection, and B) cancel it so I can connect. The real estate agent can't get a hold of the previous tenants as they have moved overseas.

Do I just keep using my internet guilty at the thought someone else is paying? Have I done enough? I don't see what other option I have. Anyone wanna weigh in?


  • I think you have done enough. No one could accuse you of being dishonest here. Telstra probably cannot even disconnect the service because you do not have authority on the account.

  • Will you pay the dude who is paying back for the months you are using when he/she figures it out?

    • But conversly, is OP actually adding to any cost of the account owner? Or if the OP set up their own account, would the costs be exactly the same for the first account. If anything the OP has morally tried to do the right thing by getting the service to contact the owner but they havent

  • If you are really feeling guilty, what's stopping you from getting your own NBN, and use port 2?

  • Document all of this. Get reference numbers.

  • Speak to the complaints department in Telstra and/or contact ombudsman. You may have to pay back the money owed but not exactly sure how they would contact you if telstra aren't going to give out your info.

  • The account is probably being paid by direct debit so it will remain active until the payment stops eventually. Can't blame you for taking advantage of it as you have done more than you should to get it disconnected.

  • Maybe Telstra forgot to disconnect at the last tenant's request and you're getting for free. Maybe the same story for them and all the way back. Wouldn't put it past Telstra.

  • ride the gravy train…

  • in two separate emails they say for the security of the account they will neither A) tell the other person they are still paying for the connection, and B) cancel it so I can connect

    In case A, this is bullshit. Telstra certainly can contact the account owner and have a review done. It's simply a case of "Hi, are you still using this account?". They're just being greedy and/or lazy.

    In case B, this is par for the course. You can't make changes if the account isn't yours.

    I think you've done enough, but Telstra haven't. I would be tempted to contact the TIO about it.. This guys account will probably dry up, and Telstra will then probably set debt collectors on him/her when the bill isn't paid. Guess where they'll come first.

  • Sounds weird you are the current resident at the place which you can prove with a rental agreement has to be bullshit they can't cancel it.

  • This sounds like a question in a law exam. I bet there has been some famous case on this issue. Lawyers-what is the correct answer? My man on the Clapham omnibus guess is that you will still be liable despite your efforts with Telstra.

    • If they have a paper trail, it'd be hard to call the OP liable.

      They've taken reasonable action to pay for it themselves. The old tenants will eventually notice. Maybe if it's on direct debit by credit card, if their card expires for example. Or next financial year at tax time. Or even after they've sorted everything out from moving overseas.

  • I cannot see how you can be liable.
    Even if you didn't use it, the cost will be the same.
    It is not gas where you are affecting the bill.

    If anything you could counter argue that the last person is causing you an issue (which it clearly is) as you cannot access your own port.

    You have done enough, enjoy it whilst it is free. The account holder may not even be paying either for all we know.

  • Better hope it's not Bikies…

  • I'm moving in a couple months anyways so it doesn't even matter that much TBH.

  • Hi mate,

    It's me, I have being paying your internet, have PMd you my bank details for full refund.


    Mr B. Ulshit

  • As i see it , its not your problem, if they dont disconnect their nbn, then you cannot get nbn, you do not own the account, so you cant cancel it, you cant get in contact with the previous tennant. Just keep using it till it stops working, then get your own.

  • B) cancel it so I can connect.

    This would be ridiculous.
    Maybe the other person forgot to cancel his account and its on direct debit.

    Once I did not receive my water bills for 6 months and when I called yarra water they informed me that the account has been closed(by someone else as it had a different name/address for sending the last bill)…

  • +1 vote

    Download all the things!

  • +2 votes

    For the first 9 months that I lived in this house (which I bought) I was coming home from work and finding that someone had serviced my pool, finding their way past my, "I'm no guard dog", German Shepherd.
    I had no idea who it was so I couldn't make inquiries and the previous owner went back to Japan in a hurry.
    When it eventually stopped I went to a random pool shop not too far away, but not the nearest and asked them to test a sample of my pool water.
    I gave him my address and he looked at me and said "I guess you are not Mr Tanaka".

  • You don't say if you have bought or renting. Either way you could contact the Agent/ Owner who assisted in getting you into the place to identify the previous resident.

  • I know its telstra and all but suuuuuuurely they have some sort of procedure in place for dealing with rental properties (and normal one) where the tenant leaves but does not disconnect their service, if your not having luck with the call center indians i'd go in to a store, its maybe the one benefit of telstra these days.

    either way there's no way i'd be using their service without expecting to have to pay for it eventually (as in retroactively) and i definitely wouldnt use it for torrents etc

  • Enjoy the free internet, I've been getting it free from telstra for years. You will never get a bill as you never made any kind of agreement with them. If it's ever discovered they will just wipe the bill.

  • enjoy it while it lasts

  • I also had free power for just over two years as after switching providers they never sent me a bill, got sort of lost in limbo. Legally They can only back charge you a certain amount, till you complain, then they just wiped the bill.

  • Telstra deserve it.. I say ride it and eventually they will find the account is unpaid and will cancel it. If the previous tenants have gone OS, they won't be paying it. It's an account oversight at Telstra's end.

  • We didn't pay for Foxtel for 2 years. During this time they even updated us to IQ 2 & still didn't twig that no payments were being received.
    This started as I requested that Foxtel payments be incorporated with our Telstra account to save on extra paperwork. Foxtel cancelled their bill but Telstra didn't add it to theirs.
    Just like Sparkling, I did contact them on numerous occasions once I realised what had happened, but nothing changed, so I left it to run & enjoy free of charge. Finally about 2 1/2 years later Telstra rang us out of the blue to ask if we had Foxtel & when I went through the scenario they waived any back payments & payments started again.
    Doesn't matter now as we have cancelled them for a Smart t.v. Box - any program, any time, FREE.

  • Previous tenant is liable until they cancel. Telstra cannot make you pay as you have no agreement with them. Enjoy it while it lasts, you have done enough.

  • Same thing happened to me when i was renting, but instead of internet, it was the water, i contacted the REA and they did not know what to do because it was in the middle of tenants doing their own waterbill to landloards/REAs set up the waterbill (in VIC)

    For water billing:

    if a new tenant moves in, the landlord should provide the relevant water corporation with their details

    So while in the middle of that we got like 9 months of free water. Baths everyday.