Due to the fabled ending of another two year phone contract in a few months I have of course been searching for that elusive ‘better deal’ that everyone offers but only few provide. I hunt around the varying deals and research the general reputation of each company and attempt to avoid the poorly recommended ones. Settling on an Optus plan as being my soon to be future one I decide that it may be prudent for the perhaps the first time in my life to read the fine print.
At first it seems reasonable with the usual clauses but then I arrived to the early cancellation section. Naturally the expectation to pay off the remainder of your handset fee is there. If you leave their service its only reasonable to pay your dues. The issue I find comes with the next two clauses that appear. Firstly a cancellation fee of $800 should you leave in the first 6 months with a $200 drop off each subsequent 6 month block. Secondly the requirement to pay out the remainder of your contract.
Some people will state that we have entered a contract with the company and therefore should be paying what is expected by what we have agreed to and signed to. Well the question I have is why are we forced to have contracts anyway?
The reality is that short of the handset fees, which are expected to pay off anyway, the company actually has zero investment into your part of the deal. Should you theoretically decide to stop using their service then the net damage to their profit is simply the loss of the money you were going to pay to use their service. So why, if you don’t wish to remain with their service, should you be expected to keep on paying for it? In addition why should we be paying cancellation fees just so we can take our money elsewhere?
It would seem to me that the only reason we actually accept the ideas of locked in contracts is because they are legally allowed to and that we are so used to it being the norm that we simply accept it as being another necessary part of owning a service.
It is no wonder that the telecommunications industry is rife with poor service and terrible overcharging as the entire contract setup is anti competitive to an almost perfect degree. Rather then being able to take out business elsewhere should we be unsatisfied we are instead forced to remain for no other reason then the fact that the company, and therefore every company, is allowed to force you.
Why can I change my insurance policy at the drop of a hat to anyone I choose but cannot do that with my phone or internet service? Its a question that has no real answer because there is no good reason why. It simply is that way but I wonder if perhaps it should be something that is looked into further.