Avoid bill shock

We all want to avoid bill shock and these tips are designed to help you manage your mobile spend so that you don’t end up receiving an unexpectedly high mobile bill.

If you do receive an unexpectedly high bill or if your circumstances have changed (e.g. sudden job loss or illness) don’t ignore the bill – but do contact your service provider straight away to discuss arrangements for paying the bill as well as possible changes to your service to make things more manageable. Service providers have policies in place to help anyone experiencing financial hardship.

If you are still thinking about what is the right deal for you, check our tips on buying a mobile.

Tips for avoiding bill shock:

1. No bills, no worries! Prepaid allows you to pay up-front and so stay in control of your spending. It’s still important to choose your prepaid plan carefully because call costs can vary and it pays to keep an eye on your credit so you are not caught in a situation where you can’t make a call when you need to because you’ve used up all your credit. Please be aware that you can always call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency situation, even if you do not have credit, provided you are within the coverage range of a mobile network. 

2. Know your usage pattern and what your needs are before you sign up to a plan and choose a plan that best suits your particular needs and usage.

3. Consider ALL the costs associated with your plan on offer. Be aware of the various rates for all types of calls, texts and data as well as any applicable limits, allowances or “caps” associated with your plan.

4. Beware of data dangers – know your data limits and check with your service provider about how you can monitor your usage. The Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code means that service providers will alert you when you reach 50%, 85% and 100% of your data usage limit. These alerts will be by SMS or email. And note that video particularly uses a lot of data. For example, downloading a 1 minute video clip can use 2 MB of data and a 30 minute video can use around 60 MB. Click here to read more about managing your mobile data usage.

5. Monitor your usage and spend – depending on your plan, voice calls and SMS may be unlimited, but if there are included value limits, the TCP Code also requires service providers to alert you when you reach your limits for voice and SMS. Make sure you take notice of any alerts you receive.

6. Bar more expensive services such as 19-SMS (mobile premium services), direct carrier billing premium services and international calling. If you still prefer to use these services, monitor carefully your calls to such numbers.

7. Parents – consider using parental controls to limit kids access to apps and other data services e.g. parental controls can allow to restrict apps use to certain hours of the day and turn off in-app purchasing. Read more here.

Finally,always contact your service provider if you are having difficulties paying your bill so that you can discuss options with them and avoid any penalties for late payments or default.

And before you take your mobile overseas and roam internationally, talk to your service provider about a roaming plan.