Consumers are being asked to call the number on a bill for a service that isn’t there, and it is costing them money.
Consumer rights advocate Sue Scott has raised concerns about the call centre in Sydney’s CBD, which is asking consumers to pay for services like water and electricity that aren’t on offer.
“They’re telling you they’re not on your bill, they’re just not paying, and you’re paying for a water bill that’s actually not on the bill,” she said.
“It’s really irritating.”
What do you do if you’re not paying your water bill?
“Consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been in contact with the call centres to address the issue.”
There are various things that they can do to try and get people to pay the water bill, or water rates, or a bill that doesn’t actually exist, but the callers say that they do,” Ms Scott said.
A water rate from a customer service centre is displayed for consumers to check the accuracy of the information provided.
The company’s mobile phone system also doesn’t offer users the ability to change billing information, but there is a separate option to change the billing address.
Consumer advocate Sue Schubert has also raised concerns that call centres can be intrusive.”
When you’re trying to get the best deal for your phone you have to make a phone call to get that information and then that information has to go through a number of people, and those people have to then go through an administrative process, and that process can take time,” she told ABC Radio Melbourne.”
So the only way for consumers like me to get this information is to go to the phone number on the phone bill and try and call that number.
“Consumer advocate and consumer advocacy group Choice Australia has also highlighted the problem of phone call centres.”
Call centres can make customers feel like they’re being taken advantage of,” Ms Schuert said.
In a submission to the ABC, Choice Australia also flagged concerns that customers are being unfairly targeted by call centres and that they were being “misled” by the company.”
The number of times we’ve had customers come to us and expressed concern about a particular service, the number of instances where they’ve complained to us has increased dramatically,” Ms Shuert added.”
We’ve also heard from consumers that they have received phone calls that they didn’t have the chance to ask about.
“The call centres are being paid $8.5 million a year, according to the company, but Ms Scott says she was told that the number was closer to $10 million.”
I think the numbers have got to be higher,” she explained.”
If they’re giving you phone numbers you don’t need, then you’ve got to ask for them.
“Ms Scott said she felt betrayed when she tried to get her water bill updated, and the number that she received didn’t even have the words water, electricity or electricity.”
In the past, they’ve been very helpful and helpful and friendly and I’ve never received a phonecall from one of these call centres that wasn’t from one person that wanted to talk to me about their water bill,” Ms Sichbert said.