[Offtopic] Re: o/t BigPond charges

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Fri Jun 26 12:26:50 EST 2009

Hi all,

Here are three replies to a query regards anyone experiencing problems
with a Bigpond broadband connection, following a recent newspaper item.

Thanks people. We are looking at broadband for a new premesis, and now
it's clear that as well as being the most expensive in our area & with
the smallest download limits Bigpond charging can also be incorrect. I
have no business connection with any ISP and have no reason to make up
facts, simply looking for the best provider. Imho Bigpond is the worst.

> Thanks for sending this information on - it all makes sense now.
> I have recently changed to Bigpond over the last two months.
> I have been receiving SMS messages saying I have used my quota- 12GB in
> four days?
> Telstra said it was a mistake but not before my international caller
> told me I had racked up $1000 in excess usage charges. Somehow I found 
> that difficult to swallow as I was on a plan where I was not charged 
> extra but the connection speed slowed. Go figure.
> I received a new SMS today telling I have once again gone over my quota-
> 1 week after the last mess was cleared up. So stay tuned . I wish I had 
> stayed with Optus. BOO HOO!


> Interesting!!!
> I am having a problem with our bigpond at home as well. We are in WA
> I had just reached the 50% of our usage when out of the blue an email
> told me I had reached 75% of my usage. Shortly after it was 100%! All
> I had done was to go onto the bigpond site to check my usage. I emailed
> them and got a very polite answer telling me that there was nothing
> wrong, that I had used whatever was charged. 
> We switched off our modem and only switched it back on when needed. 
> We kept a log. 
> After receiving the answer from bigpond and another email, and going on
> the bigpond website to check my usage, our usage had jumped to 125%. 
> I emailed bigpond again and got a few answers from different Bigpond
> departments, implying nicely that it was us. One of their suggestions
> was for me to contact a specific company to have my system checked (at
> my expense).
> We have decided to leave the matter and are looking at other carriers.
> We intend to change our provider by next week. We very likely will get
> a bundle deal, so bye bye Telstra phone line.
> Last year I had a similar problem, with a huge usage overnight. It was
> more than would have been physically possible.
> Again some Bigpond department believed there was nothing wrong. We
> persisted and eventually got a credit after they admited that there was
> a problem and we were not the only one.
> It was scary at the time because we were still on a plan! 


> I have a great solution for this, its called "TPG" http://www.tpg.com.au
> No frills, no crap only 50 gig for 50 bucks including VOIP. The fun bit
> is ringing Telstra to tell them that you no longer require their (lack
> of) service!


Hi all,

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 
Hopkinson said.

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, 
he said. 

"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 
just unbelievable."

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.


Cheers people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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