ACTEW AGL “Bundle and Save”

By 28 August, 2012 15

Long time reader, first time rioter :)

I’m half way through a two year bundle with ACTEWAGL for my phone, electricity and gas.

I’ve had these services with ACTEWAGL for the last 5 years and last year I was called by a salesperson asking if I’d like to “bundle and save”.  My most recent bill shows that I’m saving 3% on my electricity as a result of my commitment to ACTEWAGL.  To put that in context, the last bill shows that I saved $16 for the winter quarter.

After discovering a better deal for my landline with Internode I called TransACT to see what my break costs would be to remove my phone service from the bundle.

Apparently I’m up for $50 for each of the three services (although I’m really only dropping one).

So, to break a contract that saves me $16 a quarter (winter is our biggest electricity bill) or up to $128 for the two year contract, we still have to pay a break fee of $150 (when half of the contract is already passed).

I was repeatedly told by today’s salesperson that “I would have been told” the terms.  Honestly he’s probably right.  It’s also true that the original sales person would have had access to our consumption history and I’m pretty clear I wasn’t told “Hey, to save up to $128, remove your access to new competition and expose yourself to a possible break cost, liable, in full, for the contract term, that is well in excess of the full discount we’re offering, sign here”.

Pretty sure my enthusiasm would have been tempered.

Clearly it’s a case of buyer beware and I wasn’t as cautious of the deal ACTEWAGL was offering as I should have been.  I’m just putting this out there so that other consumers can be far more aware than this one.

Be careful of bundling.  Be careful with calls offering to “bundle and save”.  Be careful of our corporate citizen ACTEWAGL because what could be promoted as “saving you” could also be stitching you up quite thoroughly.

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15 Responses to ACTEW AGL “Bundle and Save”
#1
Zeital9:26 am, 28 Aug 12

people still use landline?? :P

anyways, you would have to expect that you would cop something like that to get out of a contract. is it never as simple and if it was they wouldn’t be doing so well

#2
mezza769:49 am, 28 Aug 12

Zeital said :

people still use landline?? :P

anyways, you would have to expect that you would cop something like that to get out of a contract. is it never as simple and if it was they wouldn’t be doing so well

No – I dont use my landline – but I forced to have one if I’m any chance to have broadband. It’s an unnecessary cost. I hate it and when I can get rid of it I’m going to catapult my landline phone towards Transact house.

I share the frustration with the bundling. Although I think this might end up going the way of bank break charges – I’m happy to pay out a contract depending on what’s left – but paying a break cost one month out from a 2 year contract at a few hundred dollars is plain profiteering, a penalty cost, and is uncompetitive behaviour.

#3
SSrb9:57 am, 28 Aug 12

Be careful. It’s $50 per service to get out of the bundle, but also another $200 to break the TransAct contract.

I’m in their FTTH territory so it was going to cost $300 to just connect uncontracted, with a much higher monthly rate so I just rolled with it (also because I have no other options). Hopefully iiNet will have improved the offerings by the time my contract expires in February.

#4
dungfungus10:20 am, 28 Aug 12

“bundle and save” rarely means “save a bundle”

#5
Jivrashia10:20 am, 28 Aug 12

Apparently I’m up for $50 for each of the three services (although I’m really only dropping one).

The more you deal with ACTEWagl (as well as TransACT) the more you become suspicious of everything an doubt anything.

When they introduced this “bundling” BS I immediately looked up and saw that ugly fine print about the contract cancellation fee of $50 PER SERVICE. And not to mention the discount is lousy at best.

This “bundling” is little to do with benefit to consumers (and loyal customers, such as OP) but to lock unwary people in in order to limit the effect of price competition. Though not illegal, frankly it’s an unethical business practise.

#6
Zeital2:05 pm, 28 Aug 12

mezza76 said :

Zeital said :

people still use landline?? :P

anyways, you would have to expect that you would cop something like that to get out of a contract. is it never as simple and if it was they wouldn’t be doing so well

No – I dont use my landline – but I forced to have one if I’m any chance to have broadband. It’s an unnecessary cost. I hate it and when I can get rid of it I’m going to catapult my landline phone towards Transact house.

I share the frustration with the bundling. Although I think this might end up going the way of bank break charges – I’m happy to pay out a contract depending on what’s left – but paying a break cost one month out from a 2 year contract at a few hundred dollars is plain profiteering, a penalty cost, and is uncompetitive behaviour.

I know I was making a joke, we have the same thing at home, I don’t even remember the last time i picked up the house phone to make a call XD

#7
Dilandach2:33 pm, 28 Aug 12

…the chick in the ad is hot at least.

#8
G-Fresh3:05 pm, 28 Aug 12

Dilandach said :

…the chick in the ad is hot at least.

Yep I would take them up on her bundle

#9
watto233:11 pm, 28 Aug 12

Zeital said :

people still use landline?? :P

anyways, you would have to expect that you would cop something like that to get out of a contract. is it never as simple and if it was they wouldn’t be doing so well

Yes because I have limited choice. Contrary to popular belief internet competition doesn’t exist everywhere in Canberra. eg. Tuggeranong exchange that servioces Greenway and Bonython only has Telstra services. So no naked DSL or affordable ADSL1/2.

I also laugh at the 3% savings on my rates each year if i pay up front. Seriously, If i saved the money i’d make more than 3% saving.

#10
Righto5:23 pm, 21 Aug 13

I have been trying to work out how they get the 3%. Everytime I do the calculation it suggest the rate is 2.2%. That is 2.2% of the consumption charge, I am not taking hte fixed charges into account. They must have some way of cheating you of a couple more dollars that is not obvious from the PDF on how it works.

#11
Stelto10:23 pm, 21 Aug 13

Ivanh, you “stitched” yourself up buddy..

I have been an Actew/Transact customer for years and have completed several bundles so i am well aware of the procedure they follow when signing you up!

There would be no point to a contract if there was no cancellation fee. The contract would mean nothing as you could break the contract at any point with no consequences.

Before they sign you up to a legally binding 24 months AGREEMENT (contract) they read each and EVERY term and condition of the contract and individually record you agreeing to them. There is no information relating to the offer withheld. Further to this, they then mail the terms and conditions to you to read and revise and give you a ten day cooling off period to change your mind.

If there was any part of the contract you did not understand or agree to, then why did you sign up? Given the chance it was a spur of the moment decision, why didnt you read through your copy of the terms and conditions after you had “cooled off” for a few days then let Actew know that you have changed your mind. If they offered you 3% off your electricity bill, did you take a second to consider how much of a discount this would amount to? You know better then anyone how much electricity you use each quarter because it comes out of your own pocket.

You had everything spelt out to you and you were also given more then enough chances to ask questions or change your mind.

Don’t whinge because you made a bad decision and 1 year into a 2 year contract you want out without any consequences. It doesnt matter how long you have been with the company or if the queen is your cousins best friend, a contract is a contract and you “signed” it verbally. I Don’t blame them for giving you a cancellation fee. At the end of the day they are a business and what do businesses do? Make money…

#12
Androyd10:48 pm, 21 Aug 13

I recall signing up for broadband with Transact at their shopfront. When explaining the charges to me, one of the cancellation charges was mentioned but without the amount specified When I asked the actual amount, it took them literally half an hour and intervention of a manager to actually find a bit of paper which showed me the level of the charge (and it took him about 10 minutes and a couple of visits to the back room to dig it out). If the people doing supposed customer service at the frontline can’t find the charges, what hope for the rest of us. They sheepishly offered me a frisbee and a nice cap at the end to make up for it.

#13
JC7:19 am, 22 Aug 13

Stelto said :

Ivanh, you “stitched” yourself up buddy..

I have been an Actew/Transact customer for years and have completed several bundles so i am well aware of the procedure they follow when signing you up!

There would be no point to a contract if there was no cancellation fee. The contract would mean nothing as you could break the contract at any point with no consequences.

Before they sign you up to a legally binding 24 months AGREEMENT (contract) they read each and EVERY term and condition of the contract and individually record you agreeing to them. There is no information relating to the offer withheld. Further to this, they then mail the terms and conditions to you to read and revise and give you a ten day cooling off period to change your mind.

If there was any part of the contract you did not understand or agree to, then why did you sign up? Given the chance it was a spur of the moment decision, why didnt you read through your copy of the terms and conditions after you had “cooled off” for a few days then let Actew know that you have changed your mind. If they offered you 3% off your electricity bill, did you take a second to consider how much of a discount this would amount to? You know better then anyone how much electricity you use each quarter because it comes out of your own pocket.

You had everything spelt out to you and you were also given more then enough chances to ask questions or change your mind.

Don’t whinge because you made a bad decision and 1 year into a 2 year contract you want out without any consequences. It doesnt matter how long you have been with the company or if the queen is your cousins best friend, a contract is a contract and you “signed” it verbally. I Don’t blame them for giving you a cancellation fee. At the end of the day they are a business and what do businesses do? Make money…

If you had of taken the time to read the OP’s post you could have saved yourself the 10 minutes or so it would have taken to write your diatribe. The OP freely admits that he made the mistake and is liable, just warning others to be careful which is 100% fare. I’ve seen the tactics companies like this do for their hard sells, especially on the elderly (my mother for example). She got ‘tricked’ into changing phone service to AAPT (now taken over by iiNET) 6 or 7 years ago when I found out and read the fine print I hit the roof, luckily it was in the cooling off period so she was able to cancel. Now she got the contract so was told the full consequences, just not in plain English and with sufficient time to take in what it all really means.

So off ya high horse.

#14
mezza769:02 am, 22 Aug 13

Gosh, a revival almost 1 year to the day.

FWIW – if you change your TransACT account over to iiNet- you aren’t charged any break fees. Did this with the NBN and worked a treat. Now I’m out of the customer service induced hell that was TransACT.

#15
Stelto10:31 am, 22 Aug 13

In the sales world the term “stitching up” is not a nice one and seeing as most companies have to follow their legal procedures to a t, its hardly fair in saying Actew has done anything wrong at all.

So i dont think you should be warning people about a canberra based company “stitching you up”. You should be warning people about making stupid decisions and maybe advise them not to agree to something they dont understand or agree with? Like you did

And jc, “not sufficient time to take it in” is 10 days not long enough? maybe they could include some pretty pictures for you!

Im in sales, and no, i certainly dont work for Actew. There is a code of conduct most good sales people follow and it is utterly offensive when someone suggests you “stitched” them up when person making the purchase had been made %100 aware of what they were buying.

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