Phone and internet services
Your rights with phone and internet services, how to choose the right plan for you and what to do if something goes wrong.
Phone and internet: the basics
There are several companies in New Zealand that offer telecommunications services such as mobile or land line phones, or the internet. Most companies offer a wide range of deals and packages.
The price you pay and the quality of the service can be very different depending on which company and which service you choose. It’s important to have a look around and talk to a few different companies to make sure you have the best deal, and the one most suitable for you.
This page helps you with phone and internet services. If you have a problem with a piece of equipment, such as a computer or a mobile phone, please see our page on your consumer rights with goods.
Before you choose a phone or internet service provider
Find out what a company can offer you by talking to them in person, over the phone or on the internet. You might not need all the things they offer so decide which is the best deal for you.
Before you sign up with a particular provider, make sure you read the terms and conditions of the contract. After you have agreed you are committed to the contract.
Look at these factors and decide which company and which offer suits you the best:
- What services do you need?
- Do you need to buy extra equipment?
- How will you pay for the service?
- How will you know if you are over the limit?
- How long are you locked into the contract for?
- Can the company change its fees or services without asking you?
- Does the company give technical help?
Your rights with phone and internet services
Services, such as phone and internet, are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act.
Got a problem with your phone or internet service?
If the company breaches the Consumer Guarantees Act you can get a remedy from them.
The first thing to do is to talk to your phone or internet company and make a formal complaint. Write or call the company and clearly state your complaint. It is important to use the word ‘complaint’ so the company knows you are beginning the complaints procedure.
Telecommunication Disputes Resolution
Some of the major phone and internet companies are members of TDR (Telecommunications Dispute Resolution). This is a free scheme that resolves consumers’ disputes with their phone and internet companies. If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint 6 weeks after you complained to your provider and your provider is a member of the TDR, you can take your complaint to the TDR free of charge. The TDR can only consider complaints that involve claims less than $12,000. The TDR will look at the information available and make an independent decision about your complaint.
Here are some tips for avoiding common problems with internet and phone services.
If you are traveling overseas with your mobile phone, check how much it will cost and make sure you understand the charges. Many consumers are shocked by large bills when they return from a trip away.
Fixed term contracts
Some providers will ask you to sign up to a fixed term contract. This is a contract that locks you in for a certain period of time – usually a number of years. If you choose to stop using the services before the contract ends you will have to pay a fee. You should check what the consequences of breaking the contract are, and what options you would have.
Changing fees or services
Some contracts allow the phone and internet companies to change their fees or services without asking you. However, they should at least tell you when something changes. Check how they will let you know.
Check that your phone or internet works in the areas you will usually use it. Some consumers take their new phone home to find that it doesn’t get reception at their house! The easiest way to do this is to ask the company what areas their network covers.