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Premium Direct Billing

Telstra News

Posted on March 26, 2018

3 min read

You may have heard today that we ceased providing Premium Direct Billing (PDB) earlier this month, and that we have also reached an agreement with the ACCC in Court proceedings relating to PDB.

We have agreed with the ACCC to jointly submit to the Federal Court that we pay a penalty relating to the management of our PDB service.

Premium Direct Billing enables our mobile customers to buy content such as games, apps or videos from third parties by subscribing or purchasing online and have it charged to their mobile phone bill. These services had been introduced by a number of mobile providers to give customers a convenient way of charging certain types of online services to their phone bill.

A large proportion of customers who decided to subscribe to a service were happy with it, however the number of complaints received over time shows there were issues with the PDB service that needed to be addressed.

I want to apologise to any customer who has been charged under our Premium Direct Billing service unexpectedly for these subscription content services and to those who may have experienced difficulty when trying to opt out from them.

And I acknowledge that customers may have raised concerns and I understand that the steps we took over the years in response were not effective and put in place fast enough. We did not get this right, and I apologise.

Following our decision to stop providing new subscription based services in December, from earlier this month we completely exited this service.

PDB services have been recognised as an issue for the broader telecommunications industry – we took a number of steps to improve our processes, but acknowledge we could have done more and done it faster. At Telstra, providing a great customer experience is our top priority and we recognise that our management of this service hasn’t always allowed us to deliver good experiences.

Our number one priority, right now, is working to continue to identify customers who have been impacted through being charged for third party PDB subscriptions, they either didn’t knowingly subscribe to or had tried to opt out of unsuccessfully.

We have a dedicated team working through this and we will commence contacting these customers from next week.

Once we have identified impacted customers, we’ll be proactively reaching out to them, but if you’re concerned about PDB charges on your account you can contact us directly.
Our number one priority is customer experience and the large majority of our customers have a great experience, but we don’t get it right all the time and in cases where we identify issues we will absolutely take the steps to rectify it. In this case, we have committed to identify, contact and offer to refund impacted customers, and we have now completely exited this service.

Background: Premium Direct Billing enables mobile customers to purchase online content such as games, apps and videos from third parties on a subscription or one-off basis by pressing on a subscribe now or purchase now button or similar and to have it charged directly to their mobile bill. We exited this service entirely on 3 March 2018. We will continue to enable customers to purchase some content from third party providers and have it charged directly to their mobile phone bill – more information on these services can be found here.