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blissfulhedgehog

24 posts

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#307153 24-Sep-2023 09:23
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Hi there,

 

I'm a new customer to Spark. I've been with them a week and I am regretting choosing them on a number of fronts.

 

Anyhow, I was driving yesterday and noticed that my phone started getting slammed with text messages. I pulled over and saw a screed of messages from Spark:

 

  • You're at 80% usage
  • You're at 100% usage
  • You're on casual data

Oh bother I thought, my entire data cap is gone. Some background task on my iPhone must have absorbed it. I started to look into the casual data rates and work out what I was in for:

 

  • 168MB used
  • It's 59c a MB - Which seems like $600/GB?

I figured I was surely looking at the wrong page because 59c is insane. Nope.

 

Then I dug further:

 

     

  1. Spark has the ability to set a cap on casual data.
  2. They set the cap at $100 by default.
  3. My SIM had only been active for <12 hours, I hadn't found my way into their mobile app yet.

 

The rates are outright extortionate and in my view the way it's all configured by default, you're destined to exceed your data cap at least once and be in for a $100 lesson.

 

Some thoughts for you all:

 

     

  1. Playing devils advocate is there any reasonable scenario under which Spark could incur a 59c/MB cost?
  2. In a world with 5G, has anyone considered that the 80%->100% of a 3GB datacap can happen in seconds?
  3. What recourse do I have here? On one hand I'm concerned about the $100 I have to pay, on the other I'm disgusted by this seemingly predatory practice that the likes of my grandparents would so easily fall for and be guilted into paying. Sounds an awful lot like the commerce commission should be looking at this.

 

Via Spark support they're suggesting that I could have "bought some more data" or "switched to a more expensive plan". Under what world would I have made the conscious decision to use 168MB at 59c/MB?

 

 


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RunningMan
8216 posts

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  #3131187 24-Sep-2023 09:30
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You're missing the most important piece of information here - what plan or agreement did you sign up for?


 
 
 

Free kids accounts - trade shares and funds (NZ, US) with Sharesies (affiliate link).
blissfulhedgehog

24 posts

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  #3131188 24-Sep-2023 09:36
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I'm on the $39.99/m 3GB Rollover plan. 

 

 

 

On the "Data Plan" plans, it has the following note:

 

 

Capped Data

 

 

 

Standard rates apply after data amounts have been used up. Extra data is 30 cents per MB. Standard data is only for use in New Zealand.

 

 

 

On the $39.99 plan there is no such thing. I'll have to go digging through my contract.

 


Linux
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  #3131189 24-Sep-2023 09:39
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The data bundle may have been prorated as you only just joined Spark




RunningMan
8216 posts

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  #3131191 24-Sep-2023 09:42
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If you're going through a month's worth of data in 12 hours then you really need to consider if you've selected the right plan for your needs. I'm not sure that Spark are at fault here.


blissfulhedgehog

24 posts

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  #3131192 24-Sep-2023 09:42
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I just went through the order process again to verify:

 

1.The only link to any form of agreement appears to be the "terms and conditions", but that goes to a generic help page

 

2. There is no document provided that indicates any additional fees that the plan will incur. Not in the introduction email, not in the checkout process.

 

3. I've definitely incurred a $100 overage:

 

  Additional charges since your last bill Data charges : $100.00


Linux
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  #3131193 24-Sep-2023 09:44
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Ask Spark what is your bill cycle date and I suspect the first months allocation of data was prorated

 

(You did not get the full whack of data)


blissfulhedgehog

24 posts

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  #3131194 24-Sep-2023 09:44
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RunningMan:

 

If you're going through a month's worth of data in 12 hours then you really need to consider if you've selected the right plan for your needs. I'm not sure that Spark are at fault here.

 

 

This is a brand new phone, so it's not that crazy for it to do some background download as a oneoff while it is getting setup (restoring account, etc). I do not take issue with the fact that the 3GB is used. I'm not arguing that I didn't use it. That's fine. 

 

What I take issue with is the shady way in which they are charging for overage.




blissfulhedgehog

24 posts

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  #3131195 24-Sep-2023 09:45
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Linux:

 

Ask Spark what is your bill cycle date and I suspect the first months allocation of data was prorated (You did not get the full whack of data)

 

 

I don't think it was prorated. I can see 3.17GB used in my billing dashboard.


Linux
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  #3131196 24-Sep-2023 09:47
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blissfulhedgehog:

 

Linux:

 

Ask Spark what is your bill cycle date and I suspect the first months allocation of data was prorated (You did not get the full whack of data)

 

 

I don't think it was prorated. I can see 3.17GB used in my billing dashboard.

 

 

@blissfulhedgehog OK you are correct was not prorated


Linux
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  #3131198 24-Sep-2023 09:58
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I agree mobile data should just stop once data bundle is used, Then you are given the option to buy more data if you want to

 

Data counting is done real time so no excuse!


blissfulhedgehog

24 posts

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  #3131199 24-Sep-2023 09:59
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Linux:

 

I agree mobile data should just stop once data bundle is used, Then you are given the option to buy more data if you want to

 

Data counting is done real time so no excuse!

 

 

I'm also quite concerned that I have to dig so hard to find what on earth I've signed up for. Have I missed a trick here? Is there some agreement I've somehow totally missed twice?


gbwelly
1210 posts

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  #3131203 24-Sep-2023 10:22
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blissfulhedgehog:

 

  • It's 59c a MB - Which seems like $600/GB?

 

Seems to me that this is the crux of the matter. 2Degrees did me dirty once too, ate a significant balance I had put on the child's prepay account, about 3 months worth of $19 plans. At least they offer the Dataclock app to disable this thievery. 








blissfulhedgehog

24 posts

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  #3131204 24-Sep-2023 10:26
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I've found a complaint form on the Spark website. I'm going to attempt to contact them via that and hopefully skip over the nonsense technical support.

 

I have a couple of quite reasonable requests: waive/reduce my overage charge, and make it clear to other consumers at point of purchase what those charges are. I won't be content with just sorting my $100, I believe there is a chance for Spark to do better for all customers signing up on these plans.

 

If anyone can see a way I've completely skipped over a 59c/MB charge, then please advise. Otherwise, I just want to have a conversation with Spark that isn't support stuff spitting templates at me.


Ruphus
407 posts

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  #3131205 24-Sep-2023 10:27
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On the monthly plans page, there's a section for "Important things to know" which has "Terms and conditions and standard rates", then another link to the standard rates. IMO, not really hidden.

If you want data to stop after reaching your allocation, then maybe a prepaid plan would be better for you.

Just wondering, is this your first pay monthly plan?

blissfulhedgehog

24 posts

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  #3131209 24-Sep-2023 10:32
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Ruphus: On the monthly plans page, there's a section for "Important things to know" which has "Terms and conditions and standard rates", then another link to the standard rates. IMO, not really hidden.

If you want data to stop after reaching your allocation, then maybe a prepaid plan would be better for you.

Just wondering, is this your first pay monthly plan?

 

Thanks, this helps. Though, you have to scroll past a bunch of marketing to get to the "Important Stuff". I would still argue that being able to go through the entire checkout process without having at least a "agree to Important Stuff" checkbox is unsatisfactory. I take your point though.

 

It's not my first pay monthly plan, no. It is my first time with Spark however.

 

 


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