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Optus Hits Aussie With $1,600 Roaming Fee

An Australian Optus customer has been hit with a $1,600 fee two minutes after landing in London. She was told it was a standard international roaming charge.

Sally Rugg claimed she didn’t touch her phone after arriving in the UK, and only checked it when it began receiving texts from Optus about the “insane charges.”

Optus kept telling her the charges were legitimate, so she took her complaint online, and uploaded screenshots of the messages.

“Wanna hear another Optus horror story? I landed in London 2wks ago & within 2 MN I’d been charged $1600 … didn’t use my phone at all, it was in my pocket (pinging w texts about insane charges.”

“Optus tells me the charges are ‘valid’ so won’t waive them.”

One message tells her she had spent “1600 outside of your plan’s monthly inclusions.”

“This may include charges for roaming, making international calls, using premium services, or purchasing content (like Fetch).”

In another post online, she continued, “This isn’t even one of those old-timey Returning From Overseas To A $1600 Bill (because) You Didn’t Realise Roaming Was On situations — this happened within 2 mins without me even touching my phone.”

The ‘X’ account of the telco responded to the post, directing Sally to fill out a complaint form, to which she responded with saying she had already done.

“I’ve already spoken to one of your staff and they told me the charges were valid.”

She said she was refusing to pay the charge, had taken the matter to Consumer Affairs, and had removed Optus’ ability to take money from her account through a direct debit.

An Optus employee by the name Kartik replied saying if she submitted another complaint, it would be “referred to our Customer Relations Group who’re the highest point of escalation within our organisation and they handle both internal and external complaints.”

Several other Optus customers claimed they were invoiced large fees after arriving overseas, despite not using the network.

Sally Rugg

“Similar thing happened to me recently while in Switzerland! I had my SIM card out of my phone but put it back in for maybe 2 hours, I didn’t use it but was charged $650 to my bill,” said one.

“This also happened to me today! Within 5 minutes of landing in Dubai I had three emails and messages in succession telling me I had spent $150 on roaming (which I have switched off on my phone). Ticked off? You bet,” said another.

Others were quick to say Sally was an “inexperienced” traveller, and that’s why she received the fee.

“Your experience sounds more like that of an inexperienced traveller rather than an issue with Optus.”

Some took the path of reminding travellers to turn off their phone’s data roaming before arriving overseas.

This issue happened after the Optus network blacked out for almost a whole day, impacting travel networks, and preventing people making emergency calls.

Optus apologised and offered customers a few months of extra data, however many believe the offering was disproportionate to the inconvenience caused.

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