Before you sign a contract
Sometimes it's hard to work out the mobile phone deal that's
best for you. Here are some tips on searching for the perfect phone
Work out what you can
Keep out of money trouble by working out how much money you'll
actually have left to spend on your mobile after taking into
account your other expenses such as fares and entertainment. Maybe
you also have to pay rent, petrol, food and regular bills.
Work out roughly what you can afford each month.
Decide how you will use your
The best mobile phone deal for you is the one that allows you to
do the things you want to do at the lowest cost.
What do you think you're going to use your phone most for:
texting, calls, emails, social networking, taking and sending
photos, watching videos, playing games, overseas communication or
Are most of your family and friends already using a particular
phone or are they on a particular network? If your new phone is the
same or on the same network as theirs, maybe using your phone will
Ask for a Critical Information
Don't be scared off by the name ― the Critical Information Summary (CIS) is a
free document that a company must give you about their phone or
service. The CIS will help you to understand what your new phone
service is really going to cost you and what you'll actually be
getting for your money - and it's written in a way that doesn't
make it sound like rocket science!
Ask for a CIS from your mobile service provider before you buy
or sign anything, whether it's from their website, over the phone
or at one of the provider's shops.
To find out more, read about Critical Information Summaries on the
Understand your mobile
You can end up with debts of hundreds of dollars if you sign a
mobile contract that you don't understand. Asking a mobile-savvy
friend or relative to read and help you understand your contract
with you before you sign can save you hundreds, if not thousands of
A service provider must make its contracts available on its
website - it's the law. Don't sign a contract until you understand
Case study: Afsenah's overseas roaming shock
Afsenah went overseas for 2 weeks and only made three calls but
she used her phone to receive many calls. After she arrived home in
Australia she was shocked to get a bill from her mobile service
provider for $1,160 for using her mobile overseas.
She contacted her provider who pointed out that her plan clearly
stated she would be charged for receiving calls overseas. Afsenah
checked her contract and realised that the provider was correct.
She realised that in future she would have to be more careful about
understanding all the details of her phone plan.
Check the cooling off
Look carefully at the fine-print behind advertisements. Remember
that ads are meant to make a product or service look good.
A 'cooling-off period' is the time you have to change your mind
after you sign a contract. Whether you get a cooling off period
depends on what it says in the phone contract. Sometimes there is
no cooling-off period.
You will usually have a cooling-off period if you sign a
contract as a result of a salesperson knocking on your door,
telemarketing or being stopped in a shopping centre. However, if
you go to a store and sign a contract, you probably won't have a
Last updated: 15 Feb 2017