Can Optus just change my plan while in contract?

Hi guys,
My cousin signed a 24m plan with a phone from Optus last year. The plan included 750 mins call to ANY country. He just noticed that they changed the plan, it's still same price but they removed some of the countries he can call using his 750 minutes.
He called them as the country he needed to call was no longer included. They basically say something like "he can either cancel the plan and pay for the remaining cist of the phone OR cancel it and return the phone in good condition". The thing is he has been paying the phone at full price all these months as they didn't give any discount for the phone so either options seems bad.
My question is can they just change the agreed plan because they want to even when it hasn't ended (as far as I know if he chooses to break the contract before it ends, he has to pay a penalty so this doesn't seem fair). What are his option?
Thanks for the help guys.

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Comments

  • +5 votes

    Call them back and threaten to take it to the TIO. They will come back with a better offer.

    •  

      He did and that still the options he was given.

      • +9 votes

        Go to the TIO then, he'll win but it might take a while.

        Side note, why not just do data calls which are free?

        • +1 vote

          He won't "win" but Optus might cave and do some sort of good will gesture. They can alter the deal any time they like as long as they give 30 days notice.

          The issue seems to be the phone. He either returns it, or pays out the remaining amount. What do you think would be a fair option here? Keep the phone without paying for it, or return it and get the payments refunded maybe?

          •  

            @Skylex: I would still lodge a claim with TIO… Optus wont want to waste time fighting it and will hopefully offer you a better resolution.

  •  

    Can he see the CIS? I feel he should be entitled to whatever the CIS says.
    Open the Optus App -> More -> Plan -> "<plan price and name> info" - that should open a pdf

    If Optus refuses to provide the "all countries calling"… TIO?

    Can you also let us know what the Plan ID is so we can check it here?

  • +2 votes

    I think Optus plans are all month to month not on contracts anymore so they can change them at any time. They let you add a phone with interest free payments for a set time as long as have a plan with them.
    Ask your cousin to check his paperwork to see what he agreed to. If it was a 24 month contract for the phone plan I think the TIO would help.

    •  

      It was a special plan. He had to provide his ABN to sign up.
      I found the plan from the above link.

      • +1 vote

        He should make a formal complaint.
        https://www.optus.com.au/support/feedback-and-complaints/mak...
        If that doesn’t help open a case with the TIO

        •  

          On the link you gave literally the 4th line down it says "140 selected destinations after 1 June 2021".

          Nothing to see here, just another person who didnt even bother reading the bold print let alone the fine print.

          • +2 votes

            @jaejae69: He signed up BEFORE that. At the time, the 140 countries wasn’t on the CIS.

  • +2 votes

    Contract fine print:

    “We may make changes to your plan, options and add-ons. This could include moving you to a new plan, option or add-on which may cost more. If we increase your plan price or add-on fees (additional data, international talk & text or roaming), decrease your data inclusion or move you to a new plan, we will give you at least 30 days’ notice of these changes. If you don’t like the changes, you can choose a new plan (once per billing period)
    or cancel your plan (see Cancellation above). For any other changes we make to your plan that we reasonably believe may adversely impact on you, we will give you reasonable notice of those changes.”

    •  

      Sounds like OP is SOOL.

    • +1 vote

      I guess it’s legal for them to do so but certainly doesn’t seem fair considering only 1 side has the power to alter the agreement. I guess TIO seems like the only option if optus refuse to do anything.
      This is also only stated on their normal month to month plan, not the 24m plan he signed up.

  •  

    Another person who did not read the terms and conditions before signing up…. It's in black and white what they can do as per the terms posted in the link above.

    If Optus have violated the terms and conditions then you should make a formal complaint via the Optus web site and include the exact paragraph in the CIS that they violated.

    • +2 votes

      The part where they can just change the plan as they like wasn’t in the CIS nor explained when the contract was sign. I now know they can do it but I don’t think it’s common practice to read the full t&c before signing mobile plan.

      •  

        There is some argument that ability for Optus to unilaterally change inclusions would fall under an unfair contract term.
        https://www.choice.com.au/shopping/consumer-rights-and-advic...

        •  

          It's not unilateral power.

          The entitlements to the plan refresh each month. They are not allowed to change your inclusions mid-month, but have the right to apply the update for the start of the next month in the same way the consumer has the right to switch plans at the start of the next month.

          •  

            @Strahany: The thing is the "consumer" in this case cannot switch plan without paying a penalty

            •  

              @wayne7190: What is the penalty youre talking about? Is the phone paid for already?

              •  

                @Ughhh: If you break the contract early or change plan before your contract end date, you have to pay a $xx* whatever month remaining. So essentially a penalty

                •  

                  @wayne7190:

                  he can either cancel the plan and pay for the remaining cist of the phone OR cancel it and return the phone in good condition"

                  Paying the Remaining cost of the phone - is this the penalty you're referring to?

                  Are you expecting a half priced phone?

                  If you break the contract early or change plan before your contract end date, y

                  Is your cousin breaking contract or changing plan early? If not, how does this apply?

                  •  

                    @Ughhh: He just want the same plan he signed up for.
                    For me personally, I just feel that if Optus expects/made their customers pay a penalty for breaking the contract then when they're the one who do wo, they should at least pay out compensation. If it's only 1 side then it's not really a fair contract is it?

                    •  

                      @wayne7190: You've yet to state the actual penalty your cousin has to pay. Paying remaining cost for phone if you want to keep it is not a penalty.

                      Contracts are 2 sided. Both must agree in order for a contract to exist.

  • +2 votes

    The thing is he has been paying the phone at full price all these months as they didn't give any discount for the phone

    (facepalm)

    Your cousin should have bought the phone out right (separately), and join a plan or one of those OzB 12mth deals!

    If your cousin is on OzB, he should be put into the penalty box for this!! /s :D

  •  

    I believe the countries listed can be changed at any time. But they can't change from 700 minutes to say, 500 minutes.

  •  

    It doesn’t seem fair, but it’s in the contract.
    Optus would have an agreement with a foreign telco to offer this deal, I could see a scenario where situation may change in the foreign country, political turmoil, war, bankrupt telco, pandemic, that would cancel the arrangement. This would beyond optus’ control.

  • +1 vote

    Yes, Optus.

  • +2 votes

    What country are they wanting to call that isn't part of the 140 included?

  •  

    as far as I know if he chooses to break the contract before it ends, he has to pay a penalty so this doesn't seem fair).

    What penalty? Usually if you break a contract, you'd have to pay $YY x remaining #months of plan.

    "he can either cancel the plan and pay for the remaining cist of the phone OR cancel it and return the phone in good condition".

    Not sure how your phone + sim plan is structured, but it sounds like they're only asking for you to pay out remaining cost of phone, rather than the actual plan itself. Or give them back the phone as a used second-hand phone and be free.

  • +1 vote

    Are you sure his plan is on a 24month contract? My understanding is the plans are all month to month but you sign up to a 24 or 36 month contract for handset repayments.

  • +1 vote

    Optus are offering:

    To allow him to pay out the phone and leave, or simply return the phone and leave. Both options are reasonable and the TIO will see it that way too. TBH it seems like hes trying to scam a free phone.

  •  

    OP, your cousin is in the wrong.

    Telcos no longer sell mobile phones on 24 month contracted plans. They sell you a month to month plan, with the entitlement to an interest-free instalment payment system for the handset that happens to go over 24 months. The benefit to the consumer is that the plan can be changed or cancelled at any time. The benefit to Optus is that the plan can be changed or cancelled at any time. This is what they did, and they were well within their rights. Had a cheaper plan with more inclusions been put on offer, your cousin would have been able to switch over and be on the winning side in that transaction; it goes both ways, and this time it went against your cousin.

    •  
    • +1 vote

      While I know most their current plans are month to month, the one he signed was 24 months lock-in contract. If there's a better plan and he wanted to change or cancel the plan, he would have to pay a cancellation fee. But Optus can just change it if they want and they did.
      Imagine you sign a 2 years lease for the house and if you want to leave early, you have to pay a penalty but the landlord can increase the rent whenever they want, if you don't like the new rent, leave. Would that seem fair?

  • +1 vote

    OP, isn't your "cousin" cancelling the plan a win? It's a shit plan.

    Which phone did they get? Either sell it and pay out the payments and keep the remainder and be ahead, or hand it back and avoid the remaining payments and be ahead.