Dealing with phone problems

Take care of your mobile phone

Whether it's your fault or not, you have legal rights that can help you to sort out problems or make complaints about your phone or mobile service provider.

Here we explain how to protect your phone, as well as what some of the typical problems are and how to resolve them.

Protecting your mobile phone

Losing your mobile phone or not using it securely can cost you lots of money, and can lead to other problems if someone misuses your personal data.

Protect against loss and theft

Backup any important data like contacts from your mobile so you can restore the information to a new phone if it gets lost or stolen. If you lose your phone, contact your provider immediately to get them to block your phone. You can always get it unblocked if you find it later.

Phone insurance

If you lose or damage your phone or you get it blocked, your contract will continue. Check out mobile phone insurance and see if it works for you. See our webpage on mobile phone insurance.

Websites and banking

To prevent your personal information being stolen, be careful about the websites you visit on your phone. If you're accessing your bank accounts, use your mobile network rather than a free internet wireless network (wi-fi).

Watch out for scams

Beware of texts and calls you receive about winning prizes or visiting websites. It can be a scam to take money from you. See how to deal with these problems on SCAMwatch: Mobile premium services.

Resolving mobile phone problems

Here are some common problems that could be resolved by talking to your mobile phone provider. 

Faulty phone

If your new phone is faulty or doesn't work, you may have the right to get it repaired, replaced, or get a refund. Contact your service provider to find out. See your consumer rights at ACCC: Internet and phone services.

If you bought your phone from a business outside Australia, you may find it a lot more difficult to insist on your rights. In any case, keep your receipts, warranty document and contract with the service provider as proof of purchase.

Network coverage or internet connection

Poor quality mobile network coverage can be a real problem. Speak to your phone provider and complain about their coverage.

Bill shock

If your bill is more than you expected, don't panic. Contact your provider and ask them to explain why the cost is so high. If you believe there has been a mistake and the phone company is not willing to help, you can make a complaint.

How to complain about your phone or provider

As a consumer you have the right to make a complaint about different mobile phone problems, including bills, faults, payments, or poor network connection. There are different people you can speak to depending on what the problem is and how it's handled.

Contact your mobile service provider

Contact your service provider about your complaint. The provider must be fair with you in trying to solve the problem, and they should deal with your problem quickly in a helpful and positive way.

If you're happy with the solution they suggest, the service provider must do what it promised within 10 days.

If it's taking too long or you don't agree with the solution suggested, ask the provider to refer your complaint to a supervisor or manager - they have more authority to make decisions.

Contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)

If you're still not satisfied after speaking to a manager, you can lodge a complaint with the  Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).  The TIO is a free, independent service that can help if you're not satisfied with how a mobile service provider handles your problem. They will work with you and the provider to try to settle the problem.

The TIO will generally only look at your complaint if you have already tried to resolve it directly with the provider.

You can lodge a complaint with the TIO online, or by calling 1800 062 058.

Related links

Last updated: 05 Dec 2018