CHOICE Memberships

I would write ’ your method of payment will be charged the then current annual fee every 12 months until you cancel’ and assure there is also a statement that the subscriber will be notified X weeks ahead with the then current cost and renewal/charge date. Too simple.


Hi folks, thanks for the feedback on this aspect of the wording around our memberships, and thanks for raising it @Glenn61. We appreciate the points made and I’ve passed on the comments to our membership team who are going to include it as part of their upcoming review.


So, I just received my membership renewal ($98) via snail mail and I noticed that my credit card expiry will be out of date for the next billing cycle. I then login to my account and my payment method is “you have no payment methods”. Doing some more checking it says my next billing amount will be $92 on 23/3/2024.

I gave Choice a call asking for clarification on the cost and they said it’s $98 and has been for a few years now.

Choice can do better than this as there’s so many posts about pricing discrepancy’s.


Hi Brendan,

Has the membership team been able to provide any clarity in relation to this issue?

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I am providing an update relating to the issue of the ongoing cost of Choice membership.

The short answer is that Choice has decided it will not honour the representations made about not increasing the costs relating to membership renewals. The process of getting to that answer included many examples of poor customer service. The longer version is detailed below.

10 December 2023

I sought clarification, via this forum, regarding statements made on the Choice website. Those statements are Your payment method will be charged a recurring $83.95 fee every 12 months” and “Ongoing cost: $83.95 annually”. Reading these statements would lead people to believe that future renewals would cost $83.95, never more and never less.

13 December 2023

Brendan Mays advised that the comments on this issue (above posts date stamped December 2023) had been forwarded to the choice membership team.

21 March 2024

I checked the website and the abovementioned statements were still present on the membership application page. Given that no changes had been made in more than three months it would not be unreasonable to assume that membership renewals would be processed at the fixed original price.

To remove any doubt, I posted a question to Brendan Mays asking if the membership team had been able to provide any clarity. No reply was given to that question.

Mid-April 2024

I again checked the website to find that the reference to a recurring $83.95 had but removed, with the “Ongoing cost: $83.95 annually” remaining.

May 6 2024

As Choice still had not provided a response, I emailed choice asking whether they are able to increase membership costs in the future for ongoing members.

May 9 2024

I received a reply including The annual CHOICE online subscription is $83.95 which is a recurring charge every 12 months until you cancel the subscription. It also states you can cancel at anytime, but no where on there does it state that the $83.95 is a membership that cannot be increased. As you mentioned in the terms & conditions that membership fee could be subject to price change.”

Choice providing a further example of conflicting information did nothing to clarify the issue.

I replied to that message advising of the conflict, providing definitions of “recurring” and “ongoing”, suggesting that those terms should not be used with dollar amounts if future renewals can be subject to price changes and that Choice was making false statements by doing so.

May 10 2024

I was advised that the issue would be referred to the membership team, with a response to be provided within five working days.

May 24 2024

As I had not heard from the membership team, I sent a reminder message.

May 28 2024

Reply from membership team advising that renewal prices are subject to change and attributing my concern to the way which the wording might be interpreted. Noting that this reply made no reference choice making an error, an analysis of the offending wording or the definitions that I had provided.

May 29 2024

My response included spelling out that the website statements including “ongoing” and “recurring” were unambiguous and added *“*Choice should either honour the promise made or admit that a false and misleading statement was made and apologise to the public at large for making that error. To pretend that the mistake did not happen and to not apologise is something that might be expected from a shonky organisation, not from one which proudly displays the words “You deserve better, safer and fairer products and services. We are the people working to make that happen.” on its website.”

May 31 2024

I received a reply stating that my feedback had been passed on to Choice management.

June 7 2024

Reply from Choice received including We’re sorry to hear you were disappointed with our response. While we have made efforts to improve the clarity of the wording on our membership page, we do not agree with your assessment that the previous wording indicated a set price for membership into perpetuity that disregards the information clearly outlined in the terms and conditions, which is the key document that outlines your subscription agreement.

Terms and conditions are an important factor any time you enter into a purchase, and will form the details of the agreement you enter into. Unfortunately, these documents are necessarily lengthy and for this reason they often remain hidden and unread. Unlike many other subscription sites, we attempt to combat this by providing additional succinct information at the point of sign up and clear links to full documentation to better inform consumers.”

Once again, no apology offered to members and the issue of making a false and misleading statement was ignored. It appears that Choice is happy to adopt the approach that I earlier described as "something that might be expected from a shonky organisation”. In fairness to the individuals replying to me, perhaps that were instructed to not admit any fault or mistakes by Choice.

It appears that Choice is hoping that the issue gets buried, possibly because it exposes incompetence and could also adversely affect finances. If a similar mistake was made by a large retailer or airline, Choice would have a completely different view. The approach by Choice to date is best described as Shonky, Shonky, Shonky.

That saga is fascinating that Choice has chosen to ‘dig in’ rather than adopt better or best practices such as revising their text as suggested, even including the current cost.

While some may not agree it is a problem and noting Choice is not the only service to use similar tactics/wording as well as annual price rises, it does seem like a bad look for an organisation expected to set the highest standards.

Perhaps directly approaching (emailing) the CEO or Board co-chairs may make a difference as even in Choice I suspect some issues get filtered on their way ‘up the chain’.


Thanks PhilT, I had previously tried, without success, to locate their contact details. Do you know where I could find them?

What might differentiate Choice from similar cases is the fact that Choice included the specific (not vague) statements on the offer document to prospective members. Once a person accepts that offer the representations by Choice on that page become part of that agreement.

That fact the the statements are not specifically included on the Terms and Conditions page is not relevant and statements on the t&c page should not be given a higher legal status than those on the offer page.

I am travelling and have them on my home computer.

As a generalisation choice staff emails are of the form but you can check Ashley de Silva email address & phone number | CHOICE Chief Executive Officer contact information - RocketReach with the proviso you need to create a free account or login via google, etc.

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As outlined by the ACCC, terms and conditions associated with any offer must be read carefully. This suggests that they have equal weighting to any other information presented and must be taken into account when accepting a offer. Thus an offer can’t be taken without regard to the terms and conditions.

I haven’t read through the information associated with the dispute you have with Choice, but, I hope that Choice sets the standard in relation to how information is presented to prospective or current members.

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Thanks Phil, I’ll be contacting

Keep enjoying your holiday, no need to interrupt it to read my ramblings.

It is common for terms and conditions to limit benefits advertised elsewhere e.g. only available until a certain date, minimum spend of $xxxx required, maximum benefit of $yyy etc. However, the approach suggested by Choice staff is that the right to increase prices always applies and therefore, the promise to never changes prices for ongoing memberships will never apply. This would mean that the representation about ongoing fixed prices is a false and misleading statement.

To date Choice staff have not wanted to either honour the fixed price promise, albeit made unwittingly, or alternatively own the fact they have made a false or misleading statement. They appear to be happy digging a bigger hole for themselves.

That is correct and reasonable. The T&Cs state:


All our prices are in Australian dollars. We may change the price of your membership from time to time but we’ll let you know before this happens.

This means the subscription price one pays can change, subject to notification been given. Similar conditions are very common for subscription services or ongoing services. Other examples where prices can change include streaming services, electricity, insurances etc. One doesn’t continue to pay (or locked into indefinitely) the price of the subscription at the time it is taken out.

Choice can increase subscription prices at their discretion. They can’t increase subscriptions say in the 6 month of an annual subscription, and ask the subscriber for the difference. They can however increase the subscription price at the next renewal.

If one is paying month by month, and Choice chooses to increase subscriptions, a subscriber needs to pay the higher subscription cost for the month after the subscription increases.

If one wishes to lock in a subscription price for the longer term to avoid potential price rise month to month, there is option for longer term subscription periods such as annually.

The website also shows the current ongoing subscription cost. As outlined in the T&Cs, this cost can change at Choice’s discretion, subject to notification.

I agree with what Choice has told you.

You will also likely find that any prices increases by other subscription services comply with all assurances, terms and conditions relevant to the agreement with each customer. Most (possibly all) other subscription services do not make a claim about a particular dollar amount applying to all renewal for the life of that membership.

If Choice was to increase the price of an annual renewal, that is clearly breaching the representation that Choice would charge a recurring $83.95 fee every twelve months. If Choice leaves the renewal price at $83.95 it is not breaching any conditions.

I have said from the outset that the two conditions are conflicting. Perhaps the correct approach is akin to when a seller displays two prices for the one item, where consumer law dictates that the item must be provided for the lower of those two amounts. Perhaps it is something else.

I am writing to the CEO of Choice to have the issue further investigated.

It might just be a wording change since there seems to be confusion. It could be changed from:

Ongoing Subscription:


Current renewal price:

The website doesn’t say the Ongoing Subscription price is locked in indefinitely. The T&Cs indicate the contrary.

The website wording has recently been changed. The original wording is below.

The statement “…will be charged a recurring $83.95 fee every 12 months, until you cancel your membership.” clearly means that the renewal cost will be $83.95, never more and never less, until the member decides to discontinue that membership. This means that the annual price is locked in.

Speaking of locked in prices, coincidently on the same day that I raised this issue, Choice published the below article relating to Coles not fulfilling promises about future pricing.

The article includes the below statements.
"“We are pleased to see the ACCC has followed up on our complaint, resulting in a much needed apology from Coles and thousands of customers across Australia getting their money back,” says CHOICE deputy director of campaigns Andy Kelly.

“This kind of behaviour from Coles is exactly why we gave them a Shonky Award this year. Coles has been touting how they’re supposedly helping with the cost-of-living crisis, all while banking huge profits and not following through on pricing promises made to their customers,” says Kelly."

From the OED:

ˈon-ˌgoing, a.

Also ongoing.

Going on: see go v. 86. Also, continuing, continuous; that is in progress; current; proceeding, or developing.

From the Cambridge:



UK /ˈɒŋˌɡəʊ.ɪŋ/ /ˌɒŋˈɡəʊ.ɪŋ/ US /ˈɑːnˌɡoʊ.ɪŋ/

Add to word list


continuing to exist or develop, or happening at the present moment:

You can find plenty of other online dictionaries. They do not say ongoing means there will never be any change, that it will happen for ever amen or any other suggestion of an unchanged future.

The interpretation that the statement means that the fees will never be more or less is an idiosyncrasy. That is not how the word is used in dictionaries or out in the world. To this point your complaint lacks substance.

However if anyone was uncertain, taking it further and reading the T&Cs it is quite clear your interpretation is not how they do business which reinforces the same conclusion.

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They don’t, but to have an ongoing cost of $83.95 annually there must be at least two payments of that amount. If the first renewal is for an amount different to $83.95 you have a one off payment of $83.95 and another off off payment of a different amount, so no ongoing payments of $83.95.

Putting “ongoing” or “recurring” to describe a dollar amount simply adds confusion and removes clarity. For that reason it is unwise to do so. This is why I suggested that the reference needs to be modified.

If the website didn’t require agreeing to the T&Cs, then I would agree with your view.

However, subscribing one agrees to the T&Cs which states as indicated above, Choice can alter the (reoccurring, ongoing renewal) subscription price subject to a subscriber being notified. When Choice alters the price, the website hopefully is updated to reflect that altered price. If Choice doesn’t notify a subscriber, then they would have to honour the $83.95 subscription price (or price before any alteration). The website doesn’t state the subscription price is locked in or won’t be altered.

As the ACCC advises, T&Cs must be carefully read in conjunction with any offer. If this is done, one will clearly see the displayed subscription price is subject to change. This approach is no different to other subscription services, where one agrees to automatic renewals based on the current subscription price. The T&Cs also state the price subject to change. This is possibly done for automatic payment methods, such as credit cards, to reduce successful disputes/chargebacks.

Choice could have put a footnote on the $83.95 stating the same as per the T&Cs. Many businesses, including some I have worked with in the past, prefer not to use footnotes or additional notations as there is a risk these might end up being inconsistent with the T&Cs. This Is a high possibility

I don’t have any issue with Choice’s position as one has agreed to the T&Cs which provides clear information on future pricing.

The Coles example is very different as Coles had advertised the prices were locked in. Choice hasn’t stated anywhere the prices are locked in or will not change. The contrary exists which is provided in the T&Cs.

As I have said previously, the decision about which of the conflicting conditions takes precedence is not clear. It is probably something for lawyers to decide. Something that many have overlooked is the fact that the statement relating to the recurring $83.95 fee, along with other statements on the same page, form part of the terms and conditions of the membership agreement.

If the coin toss favours the outcome you have suggested, that means that the representation by Choice that the cost will remain at $83.95 has no application. This makes that statement false and misleading.

Unless it is decided that the $83.95 fee will continue for the life of the membership, Choice will be in the wrong for either for not honouring a condition of the agreement with members or for making a false and misleading statement to members.

There aren’t conflicting conditions. I believe you are trying to see the displayed price as one thing and trying to interpret it alone…independent of what the T&Cs state. They aren’t independent and must be read together. When read together, nothing conflicts.

Nothing indicates the $83.93 lasts forever.

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Read alone the two statements read:

  1. Any future year costs will be no different to the first year costs.
  2. Any future year costs might be different to the first year costs.

Reading those two statements together you get “Any future year costs will be no different to the first year costs but might be different to the first year costs.” You should be able to see that this amalgamated statement has conflicting rules.

The only time the amalgamed statement can be true is when the future year cost is $83.95. If the future year cost was something different to $83.95 that statement is nonsensical e.g. the future year cost is $83.95 but the future year cost is $95.95.

To come up with any other answer you need to ignore the first statement, which should not happen as that is part of the warranty provided by Choice when the membership commenced.