Topup or Additional Data on Phone Plans

I have a smartphone on a $40 monthly plan which gives me unlimited texts and calls and 500Mb of data. I don’t use a lot of data because at work and home I connect to wifi so any daily use or phone updates and such generally never eat into my meagre 500Mb.
A few months ago I had apparently had issues with wifi connection and exceeded my data limit. Now I had zero warnings from my telco about being close to the data limit and was automatically credited with a topup of 1Gb of data at a cost of $10. Whilst I would have liked to have been warned and asked if a topup was required I can live with getting extra data. This occurred 3 days before the end of the billing month.
The part that really got me going was that, despite only using 50Mb over those 3 remaining days, at the end of the month the additional data just disappeared. They stole it. Despite the fact that I paid for it they just stole it back and all I got from the telco store person was “that’s just how it is”.
I don’t know how the laws work but if I have paid for additional data then I expect to be able to have the opportunity to use it. I find this behaviour truly deplorable and wrong on all counts.
Ha anyone else been stiffed on additional data like this? What was the telco response?


Your first stop is to read the T&C you signed up for. Many if not all are very one-sided. The law will support those T&C unless those T&C can be declared legally unconscionable.


Hi Pete. You might want to have a look at Amaysim (uses the Optus network).

For the $40/mth you pay, we get an Unlimited (calls and texts within Aust.) Plan with 7GB, yes SEVEN GB, of data on a month to month basis without a contract.

Perhaps you would be better off leaving your current provider? And yes, an Amaysim connection works well in Canberra.

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Yeah I know it is in the T&C but that does not make it right and how are they allowed to do that anyway?

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Thanks for the tip but I am only 13 months into a 24 month contract with phone so it will cost me too much to get out of. Just after I signed up they did up the data to 1Gb per month and also added the new phone trade up after 12 months. I could get that but would have to sign up to a new contract, existing ones don’t get upgraded unfortunately.
I still don’t think it is right that they can make rules to steal data you have, perhaps unwillingly, paid for. Given the choice and knowing they would steal the remaining data, I would have said no thanks.

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Assuming that you received the T&Cs BEFORE entering into the contract, it’s a case of caveat emptor (‘buyer beware’) unfortunately. Legally correct, morally wrong.


Hi @petepetrass,

I ran this issue past our Consumer Law experts, and as other Community members have mentioned unfortunately it is likely to be a case of the T&Cs winning.

While the Australian Consumer Law does prevent unfair contract terms from being included in standard form contracts, you’d have to make an argument that allowing the data to ‘disappear’ when the next billing period starts is unfair in all the circumstances, i.e. that it is not reasonably necessary for the legitimate business interests of the company, that it causes financial detriment and/or that the term was not sufficiently transparent (these are all factors that can be taken into account).

I realise you probably weren’t interested on taking it to this level, and we’d love to hear from others about their data cap experiences so please feel free to leave a comment here. I’ll be sure to take this issue into our next investigations meeting.


I think an opt in/out email or sms from them would be a good start. If you are two or three days from the end of the month you could easily then opt out of the extra data and just await the new months allocation if you wanted. Or have a system where if you are running low at the end of the first month you could grab data from the next months allocation and have less to play with in the new month. If this case of overuse then went to a second month then you would either have to buy extra or have no data until the third month’s allocation came into effect.


Telsta did same thing bout a day before new data . Called them and asked for the data backup to be taken off but they said it couldnt be done . Not happy with them with all phone areas i wonder what amysim is like in tasmania ,

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Amaysim run off the Optus towers. So it depends on how Optus is in Tasmania.

From my experience last year Optus coverage in most of Tasmania is spotty to non-existent in spite of their island scale map suggesting otherwise. Check their maps with a finer granularity in the areas you will travel. It is OK in the cities but reality is coverage with a typical mobile sans external antenna drops in and out, mostly out, pretty much everywhere outside Hobart or Launceston metro areas.

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Thanks everyone for help bout amaysim i guess stuck with telstra for bit longer

Hi There
I’m not so sympathetic - “data” as such is not purchased, it is the right to use the data service that is purchased. Virtually every data plan gives access to that service for a limited period. My monthly plan ends on a date and the next month starts at the same time. Any “data” not used is lost at the changeover date. This is entirely normal in the industry. I think you need to read the T & C’s as advised by another participant and then to change to another service provider as also advised, where you will probably get a much better deal. I don’t think you “data” was stolen, I think you will find that your contract specifies that your right to use the service merely expired on the relevant date.

We encountered the same issue of being delivered additional data at a cost a day or two before the roll over. If we were given a choice, we would have said no (two phones @ $10 each) and waited.
We are with Telstra and when we pressed our local store they did eventually give out a 1800 phone number that you can call to opt out of the top up service for your contract/s. But we had to press.
Unfortunately I have not kept the number to be able to give it to you. But knowing that the option exists is a start and people who want to opt out do have an option.


I have just had the same situation for two consecutive months and have emailed Southern Phone to ask if there is s possibility to opt-out, with no reply yet. I have taken out a relatively new plan for my teenage daughter and was aware that there was a $10 “boost” to provide an extra 1GB, BUT they sent a text to advise she was at 85% of her allowance and there appears no way of monitoring usage after that (online information has a lag and there is no App or real time usage available). Both times we have been given a “boost” without ever being told that she has reached %100, and both times it was within a day or two of the end of the month. It seems unfair that we are advised at 50% and 85% but not at 100%, and therefore you lose 15% every month or risk being hit with a $10 boost.

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Most if not all smart phones have a real time report on their data use as seen by the phone. Unfortunately it does not always coincide with the telcos metering, but is a good guide. Many can be set to “zero” their display every month.

It is not a panacea for tracking data but when you get a 50% or 85% warning it could be a very useful guide.

One example of where it is located is

Thank you, we will see if we can do this!

I am at the end of a 2 yr contract with Telstra. When it started, if you used your allotted data it would keep going and charge a rate per mbit. They then changed to the $10 a gig but you had to opt in or ok it. I never did and if I went over a bit it just showed on the next bill with no charge? Also with my Samsung you can set the data limits in the settings, so it warns you at a specified limit and then disables at your upper limit.