If anyone can help, I would like to know what consumer rights we might have in relation to:
a) the range of payment methods offered to customers by utility services;
b) transparency about these prior to customers signing on; and
c) differing charges and due dates for different payment methods, such as charges when you make a payment by or before the actual due date but before their (arbitrarily) stipulated ‘payment processing’ period before due date.
There is a concerted effort by many utility retailers to discourage everything but Direct Debit, including Bpay. Some insist on DD only (eg Powershop). Others charge for the privilege of anything other than DD. This really annoys me because I object strongly to handing over mgt of my bank account to a company via DD (and it is a pain to ensure they are kicked out when done). I prefer instead to pay our HH bills via BPay because it allows me to both pay bills as they come in while also setting the exact payment date to pay on time and align with paydays.
I just transferred my phone service from Circles because they didn’t offer Bpay (after saying they were still thinking about it for a year) to another comparably-priced phone service, Moose, because they said they did. Only Moose did not (that i could see) provide any information about the T&C for payments before i made the transfer, apart from saying the DD would be the default and i would have to contact them directly to change it to another payment method (that annoyed me). But I did that and got an email with the different charges for different payment methods and with different effective due dates for each (see below). Is this allowed? isn’t this the same as fining people or having earlier due dates dressed up as different payment processing times? The money is definitely in their account on the date that you stipulate (the bank ensures that), so they can’t say they don’t have the money. All they are doing is making you pay for their internal admin costs which we have no verification are anywhere near what they say they are or anything to do with ‘payment processing’ and not eg their own inadequate internal system efficiencies. To top off the nudge-bullying i can’t set up my Bpay with them until i get our first bill because they refuse to provide the Bpay details in any form before that.
any insight welcome.
"Please see the below information for payment processing times.
Credit Card Direct Debits - Instant (No charge)
Credit Card Payments Via Customer Service - Instant (No charge)
Credit Card Payments Via Moose Web Portal or App- Instant (No charge)
Credit Card Pay By Phone - 1 Business Day (No charge)
Direct Debit - 1 Business Days for insufficient funds up to 3 business days (No charge)
Australia Post Bill Pay - Up to 3 Business Days with an additional charge of $2.50
BPay - Up to 3 Business Days with an additional fee of $1
Direct Deposit - 1 Business Day (No charge)
Bank Account Direct Debits - 3 Business Day (No charge)"