I was in a mobile store today. Great deals were available. For only $60 or so a month I could get $700 worth of calls plus a phone under a 24 month contract. What a bargain!
As a commentator on an earlier blog noted, this is all ‘funny money’. The mobile company sets ludicrously high call charges and then says that you can get a great big discount for a fixed fee. Presumably someone, somewhere, sometime actually pays these high prices. If not, then the mobile companies would appear to be violating the Australian Consumer Law. After all it is illegal to represent a price that no one has recently paid as a ‘was’ price in a ‘was-now’ discount price advertising campaign. So presumably it is illegal to advertise a bundled price when no one has recently paid the relevant component prices.
Even so, these pricing practices appear dubious. Section 18 of the law states that:
(1) A person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.
Advertising inflated ‘packaged’ prices could be construed as misleading.
An alternative would be packages based on call minutes (either on net or off net). At least then consumers would know what they were buying.
p.s. apologies to the earlier commentator – I remember the comment but am blowed if I can find it.