Xmas mobile shoppers beware

Consumers buying mobile phones for Christmas should check and understand the terms of their phone contract before signing warns the Australian Communications Authority (ACA). The ACA cautions that with some deals involving contract terms of up to three years, and the introduction of mobile number portability – which allows mobile users to keep the one phone number whilst changing service providers – some people may find themselves restricted by their contracts. Mobile number portability is scheduled to commence across Australia on September 25, 2001, giving consumers the opportunity to take advantage of the best offers on the market and change service providers without the hassle of changing their numbers. However, ACA Chairman Tony Shaw says “portability means a consumer is transferring a number and not a service…the decision to move to another provider does not cancel a current contract or the debt associated with it.”