[Offtopic] o/t BigPond charges?
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed Jun 24 22:20:34 EST 2009
The following news item today is rather a surprise, thus one is wondering,
has anyone on the list with a BigPond home connection noticed any problem?
Bill shock: BigPond users charged thousands for 'data they didn't use'
by Julia Talevski, June 24, 2009 - 5:48PM
A Telstra BigPond customer has been slugged thousands of dollars for
excess data usage and others have been hit with unexpected bills for
downloads they claim they didn't use.
Nigel Hopkinson said he was disputing a charge of $8562.31 for 73GB of
excess data use. The apparent usage was recorded by BigPond between
midnight and 5.07am on May 10. He received an automatic email at 8.53am
from BigPond, advising his account reached 175 per cent of his monthly
60GB usage allowance. He had left his computer and modem on, he said.
Other customers that have been affected by excess data usage claimed to
have turned their computers and modems off.
"I had no software running that would cause this and I do not believe
with my connection speed, that it is even technically possible," Mr
Another BigPond customer, Eian Mathieson, who is on a 25GB-a-month plan,
said he began to worry about his account usage after having gone over the
limit two months in a row.
Mathieson downloaded a metering tool, Netmeter, to measure his usage
patterns. On one day, BigPond metering recorded more than five times the
usage Netmeter reported, he said. On May 27, the BigPond meter showed he
had used 1768MB, whereas Netmeter showed 342.6MB for that same day. The
next day, the BigPond meter displayed 1650MB of usage and Netmeter
recorded 358.62MB, Mr Mathieson said.
He said he contacted an IT company, R2 Technology, to inspect his PCs for
any possible intrusions, such as trojans or malware, that could be
causing the problems, but after running multiple scans on all his
computers and checking the installation of Netmeter, he said the problem
appeared to reside with BigPond's metering tool.
"After R2 had finished, they said that absolutely no way there is
anything hidden on any computer that is causing this problem. It really
genuinely seems to be a metering issue on Telstra's end," Mr Mathieson
When Graeme Fletcher switched from a dial-up to an ADSL broadband account
on May 7, he said he started to notice his usage increasing. Between May
7 and 11, it recorded that he downloaded about 900MB in about four days,
"I don't use the internet that much at all, I just use it for emails, and
don't download anything special," Mr Fletcher said.
Between May 14 to 17, Mr Fletcher said he turned his modem off, unplugged
it from the wall and put it back into the box. During those days, he said
BigPond metering recorded between 30MB to 88MB data use each day.
When Mr Fletcher contacted BigPond about the problem, he said he was
informed that someone else was using his account. His first bill showed
he was being charged $72 for excess usage, which he said Telstra told him
it would remove from his account.
"I called up before May 18, to try and sort things out, but I was just
getting the run-around," Mr Fletcher said. "I had a phone call from
Telstra saying they're going to cut my phone off because I haven't paid
my bill. I have to get back on to BigPond and work it out again. It's
In a discussion on a telecommunications forum, Whirlpool.net.au, one post
referred to a apparent screenshot of a BigPond customer's usage for one
month totalling 52 million megabytes (52 terabytes).
Another customer, Robert MacMillan, claimed BigPond's usage meter was
recording about 20MB to 120MB a night worth of usage when he had turned
his modem off at certain times over consecutive days from May 11 to May
Choice spokeswoman, Elise Davidson, said capped plans were notorious for
confusing consumers and it was often very difficult to monitor usage.
"Even worse is situations like these where the customer says they have
been charged incorrectly," she said.
"Consumers in this instance seem to be very clear that they were not
using the internet at all during these periods. But proving that your
computer was not in use may be difficult in the face of a giant like
Telstra," Ms Davidson said.
"The number of cases would indicate there is a problem and it needs to be
resolved quickly, without hours wasted on hold to a call centre."
Paul Budde, an independent telco analyst from BuddeComm, said he had
heard of similar cases. But, he said, it was very difficult to pinpoint
where the problem was.
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