How to snap without snapping

January 31, 2017 at 11:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

You have successfully lodged a complaint with the Telecommunications
Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

Service provider iPrimus
Service type Internet
Service ID NNNNNNNNN
Amount in dispute $7.22
Complaint date January  2017
Last contacted provider Less than three weeks ago
Complaint description My total bill for January is $79.17. This includes three fees totalling $7.22, which represents 9.1% of the bill. The fees are: BPay Processing Fee, Non Direct Debit Fee and Statement Fee. I feel these fees are unwarranted and unethical and that iPrimus are trying to charge me more money simply for paying them money.
Your service provider’s response The first person said these fees were reasonable and part of the terms and conditions and that she could not help me. She later called back, saying she would put me through to a manager. The manager said I could avoid fees by setting up direct debit and email bills and would I like to do so? I said no. The manager then offered me a $32 credit on my next bill, but stated that the fees would remain. I accepted her offer as recompense for the time I’d invested, but I remain unhappy with the whole concept of these spurious fees.
Your preferred outcome I’d like all three fees to be removed from all future bills. If this isn’t possible, I’d still like to know what the Ombudsman thinks of these fees. In short: 1. Is this the way of the world today? 2. Am I flogging a dead horse? 3. Should I put a sock in it? Whatever happens, I don’t want to lose that $32 credit. It may be the only good thing I ever get out of iPrimus. With kind regards and many thanks for your time, Paul.
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  1. OMG – I hate this stuff! It appears that when we are born we should come with a disclaimer ‘Life – fees, charges and conditions apply’.

    I hate the fact that my health insurance provider spends millions and millions promoting their services on television and offering a host of special benefits ‘for new clients only’. What about the loyal customers: we get nothing.

    Or the Internet provider that provides an unlimited download package for $20 less per month than I am paying. Change: nup – new clients only.

    Why do I have to pay a 3% fee for using my card to pay for anything? Isn’t that a cost of doing business? Credit cars I can kind of understand but now many are doing that for direct debit which costs them nothing!

    Then there are bank fees. Let’s not go there.

    Or the reduction in personal tax that was to be offset against the GST. Seventeen years and still waiting.

    Buy a commercial property and pay GST and stamp duty. I guess when the politicians promised to reduce stamp duty they were just flat out lying to get elected.

    Or Uber who charged me 40% premium because there was peak demand at the time I wanted to use them.

    How about the Utilities companies that want to charge you a fee to send you a hard copy of their bill so you can pay them. Fine if the money was donated to offset the environmental cost but no, just more money for them.

    Then there are the retail outlets that charge you a dollar for a bag.

    I sign up at the gym on a direct debit program (which is to their benefit as it ensures they get paid every month) only to find there is a $6.00 a month ‘processing’ charge.

    All of this adds up to many hundreds, if not thousands, each year.

    Angry, damn right.

    • Dear Angry of Mayfair, thank you for not passing GO in this one! I’m delighted your nerve remains so raw, for therein lie great written riches. My acid test henceforth for potential suppliers is to ring them. If, on the button pusher, new prospects precede current clients, they lose. This could become a movement. I’m glad I’m sitting down. Thanks so much for sharing. This is just like the good old bad old days. Kind regards, P.

  2. You’ve hit a nerve! (Especially with our Malcolm.) To continuez les anecdotes, I once short paid a final communications provider bill for some trivial amount like $1.10. That is, I paid $1.09, just to see if they’d process, print and post a bill for $0.01. They did. I peel your fain. Anyway, whereabouts in the dead horse (#2) do you insert the sock (#3)? Eew.

    • Merci, Ad. (For all of us!) Wonderful to see you back so soon. I shall examine my Strine for possible points of entry and detain foreign bodies if found to be of dual citizenship. Best regards, Hank from Border Petrol.

      • … My Medicine San Serif flipbook advises that the correct surgical sock locale is in either (or occasionally both) of the horse’s orbits. As with certain salmon.

  3. Gah. There are too many dead horses in the life we lead, unfortunately.

    • Hi, Michelle! Welcome back. I think there may be a novella title in there somewhere, but I’m not game to check. Always happy to see you. Kind regards, P.

  4. Epilogue. This exercise did not remove the fees. But it did generate a total of credit of $128.10 (almost two months worth of bills). I thank the Ombudsman sincerely for expediting this result.

  5. I am currently in dispute over these fees for BPay payments and what they claim as a fee for not using direct debit… I have been a customer for several years and never been charged for these penalties until this current bill.
    I arranged for online billing a long time ago to avoid paying fees for paper bills and customer service response are now saying they are charging me for the “barcode” that is supplied with the online bill…. How is it legal to charge for that, when I don’t use it and did not request it? When I entered a new contract last year to change from ADSL to NBN, they asked how I would pay, so I responded through BPay as I always have since the beginning. They said that was fine and DID NOT say I would hit for these extra fees…. Why take so long to start charging me while I’m in a contract??? I never would have taken on another contract with them when there are other ISPs that don’t have these extra charges

    • Hi, Patrick. I can certainly empathise. But I think you may in for a fight. These sneaky fees seem here to stay. So the best thing could be to go for compensation. Whatever path you take, I’d love to hear how you get on. With kind regards and many thanks for joining the conversation, P.


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