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Download: docHow to use less data on your smartphone60.5 KB

Download: pdfHow to use less data on your smartphone124.99 KB

Smartphones can chew through your data allowance without you realising it. This can be because data-hungry apps are left open or simply due to default settings on your phone.

It can be very expensive if you go over your monthly data allowance. Our blog post on excess mobile data charges outlines what some of the telcos charge for going over your mobile data allowance.

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Group of friends taking selfie photo on phone

Download: docIntroduction to Social Media62 KB

Download: pdfIntroduction to Social Media326.36 KB

What is social media?

Social networking on social media websites involves the use of the internet to connect users with their friends, family and acquaintances. Social media websites are not necessarily about meeting new people online, although this does happen. Instead, they are primarily about connecting with friends, family and acquaintances you already have. The most well-known social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. These websites allow you to share photos, videos and information, organise events, chat, and play online games.

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Man with backpack on street smiling at phone

Download: docxTravelling overseas with a mobile phone50.95 KB

Download: pdfTravelling overseas with a mobile phone346.11 KB

If you are travelling overseas and would like to use your mobile phone you have a number of options to consider.

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Woman holding up phone looking for mobile receptionDownload: docPoor mobile reception: what can you do?58 KB

Download: pdfPoor mobile reception: what can you do?413.37 KB

From time to time most of us will have a call drop out, delayed texts or slow internet on our mobile phone. But, if you regularly have mobile reception problems, then you are not getting the service you are paying for.

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What affects the quality of my broadband infographic

Download: docxWhat affects the quality of my broadband brochure40.75 KB

Download: pdfWhat affects the quality of my broadband brochure404.28 KB

Hello...hello...can you hear me..?

Is poor internet preventing you from talking with family and friends, watching your favourite shows or uploading photos of your recent adventures to share with everybody?

Young woman reviewing her bill while holding her disconnected phoneWhat are your rights?

Network outage? No service? Call failure?

  • If you have been disadvantaged or lost money due to a phone or internet outage, you might be able to claim compensation.
  • Compensation should make up for your loss.
  • For example, if your internet is out for one week you could ask for your money back for that week. You may be able to claim for costs incurred, like getting your internet fixed or using extra mobile data.

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Boy using mobile devicesDownload: docHidden costs in free apps  57.5 KB 

Download: pdfHidden costs in free apps  334.2 KB 

 

While some games or apps cost nothing to download on our smartphones or tablets, they often contain extra elements you can purchase within the game, known as “in-app purchases.” It is easy to make in-app purchases with many parents reporting that their children are buying things within games, not realising that they cost their parents real money through their iTunes, Google Play or Amazon account.

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Credit reporting tipsheet coverDownload: docCredit Reporting72.5 KB

Download: pdfCredit Reporting817.83 KB

What is credit reporting?

Credit reporting is used by organisations to help decide whether or not they are willing to lend money to a particular person. Credit providers and credit reporting agencies are the main organisations involved in credit reporting. Credit providers are businesses such as banks, car loan  companies and telecommunications service providers that lend money or provide credit to their customers.

Credit providers send information about your debts to private companies called credit reporting agencies (CRAs). There are three main CRAs in Australia:

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Cover image of the fixed voice continuity plan pdfFixed Voice Continuity Plan.pdf409.05 KB

docFixed Voice Continuity Plan.doc71.5 KB

Your business landline (fixed voice service) can be a critical business asset. If your fixed voice service failed, would your business continue to operate effectively?

Back-up (or failover) solutions for fixed voice services vary considerably depending on the size of your organisation and the purposes for which you use these services. Most small businesses are highly dependent on their fixed voice services so a continuity plan is important.

To minimise risk to your business from failure of your fixed voice services you should:

  • Perform a 'risk assessment' for your business's use of telecommunications

  • Obtain the most reliable fixed voice service that you can afford – to match the level of risk.

  • Write an action plan for what you would do in the event of a disruption to this service (outage)

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Cover image of the business continuity plan tipsheetdocDownload: Business Continuity Plan61 KB

pdfDownload: Business Continuity Plan310.03 KB

What is a 'Business Continuity Plan' (BCP)?

It is a fact of life that emergencies will happen, and computer and communications systems will fail. To minimise the problems for your business it is advisable to have a business continuity plan which:

  • Outlines what you have done in advance to prevent interruptions to vital services

  • Lists the steps you and staff will take during an interruption to continue operations

  • Lists the steps you will take to fully restore services after an interruption

  • Sets up a Post Incident Review (PIR) after an interruption has occurred

Sample BCPs are available on the internet where you will also find sites that have extensive instructions on their construction and implementation.

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Cover of Broadband Continuity Plan tipsheet

docDownload: Broadband Continuity Plan74 KB

pdfDownload: Broadband Continuity Plan252.67 KB

Your broadband service can be a critical business asset. If your broadband service failed, could your business continue to operate effectively?

To minimise the risk you are advised to:

a) Perform a risk assessment for your business use of broadband

b) Obtain the most resilient broadband service that you can afford – to match the level of risk.

c) Write an action plan of what you would do if you broadband failed (outage)

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Download: docAbout the National Relay Service59 KB

Download: pdfAbout the National Relay Service422.3 KB

People who are Deaf, hearing-impaired or speech-impaired are unable to access telecommunications without specialised equipment and services. Since 1995, the Australian Government has overseen a National Relay Service (NRS) which enables people with these disabilities to conduct real-time conversations with other people. The funding for the NRS is provided by a levy on eligible telecommunications carriers.

The NRS offers a number of different relay services allowing greater communication options for people who are Deaf, hearing impaired or speech impaired. These include:

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Father and daughter using mobiles in the parkDownload: docHow to choose a pre-paid calling card55.5 KB

Download:pdfHow to choose a pre-paid calling card300.88 KB

Pre-paid calling cards can be a cheap way to make international calls and many offer good value for money. But, be warned, there are also many cards you should avoid buying because of hidden fees and charges.

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Ensuring the security of multiple online accounts might seem like a big task, but it is important you do not use the same password for all of your accounts.

Data breaches of well-known websites are becoming more common, and using the same password across multiple accounts puts you at risk of cyber-criminals accessing your banking, social media accounts and other personal information.

Here are some tips for creating strong, unique passwords that will keep your personal information safe online:

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Download: docMy home broadband is slow or unreliable57 KB

Download: pdfMy home broadband is slow or unreliable301.81 KB

Many factors can affect the quality of your broadband connection. This can include the quality of the wiring to your home or your equipment inside the home. Read ACCAN’s tip sheet for more information on this.

If you cannot use the internet in the way you need to due to poor speeds or connection problems, you should:

  1. Do an online speed test to compare your home internet speed to your retail service provider’s (RSP) advertised speeds. Keep records of the speeds you get and how many drop outs occur if your service is unreliable.

  2. Contact your RSP and clearly state that you want to make a complaint about slow speeds or an unreliable service.

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Wondering how to make Facebook work with your screenreader, or whether LinkedIn is accessible? These tip sheets from Media Access Australia, available in print or audio formats, are full of tips and tricks for getting around the accessibility challenges of popular social media platforms. See below to access easy-to-understand information about how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Skype and YouTube, or to learn more about blogging.

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What are captions?

Captions provide the dialogue and important background sounds in onscreen text for television viewers who are Deaf, hard of hearing or people watching television in noisy places, like the gym. Captions are displayed in text, usually at the bottom of the screen.

When are captions supposed to be provided on television?

All Australian free-to-air broadcasters must provide closed captions on programs shown between 6:00am and midnight on their primary channel (for example: Nine, Seven, Ten, ABC1 and SBS1). News and current affairs programs must have captions at all times.

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cartoon image of telephone, mobile phone and phone directory

Download: docHow to avoid directory assistance call charges64.5 KB

Download: pdfHow to avoid directory assistance call charges443.87 KB

Did you know that calls to Directory Assistance 1223 and other directory phone numbers may not be free of charge from your mobile or landline phone? Sometimes these calls are charged outside of your included plan value, so you may receive extra charges on your bill from calling these numbers.

Whenever possible, you should avoid calling directory assistance numbers and instead use one of the alternatives listed below.

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Young woman upset at receiving high billDownload: docReceived an unexpectedly high bill56.5 KB

Download: pdfReceived an unexpectedly high bill319.78 KB

Many phone providers have a limit on how many calls you can make, texts you can send and data you can use each month. If you go over your limit you could be charged extra fees. These fees can be very expensive and it is best to avoid going over your limit if you can. See our tip sheet on how to avoid smartphone bill shock for more information.

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ACCAN, CHOICE, and the Consumer Action Law Centre have joined forces to give you 4 quick tips on checking your phone bill to save money.

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Black and white Wi-Fi sticker in window

Download: docSecuring your home or office Wi-Fi246 KB

Download: pdfSecuring your home or office Wi-Fi385.89 KB

Wi-Fi is a cheap and easy way to connect your devices to each other and to the internet without running cables throughout your home or office. However, because Wi-Fi is sent through the air, it is important to take steps to secure your network and devices.

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Download: docxAvoiding big charges for 13 number calls48.74 KB

Download: pdfAvoiding big charges for 13 number calls334.99 KB

Some long expiry pre-paid and pay as you go mobile plans charge for 13 number calls by the minute. These plans may not be good value if you often call 13 numbers and you may find your credit gets used up quickly.

Here are some plans that charge for 13 number calls by duration (note: there may be other plans on the market that charge for these calls as well):

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Download: docxUnderstanding your broadband options.docx118.5 KB

Download: pdfUnderstanding your broadband options.pdf383.84 KB

With so many options on the market it can be confusing and challenging to choose a broadband service that suits your business. The information below aims to help you understand the available broadband options for small businesses so you can make the best choice for the operational needs of your business.

What products are available?

The product you choose should be the one that best matches your usage requirements. If your business operates in a single location and only needs the internet for email and a small amount of web browsing, then a standard consumer grade retail plan will be fine. However, if your needs are more complex or you have a high demand for reliable high speed services then it may be worth engaging someone to do a full assessment of your telecommunications needs on a commercial basis.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technologies are the most commonly available broadband connection type in Australia today. DSL enables high speed data transmission over copper wire telephone lines. DSL comes in a range of types according to upload and download data rates, often referred to as the 'speed.' The actual performance will also depend on how long the copper wires are between your premises and the service provider's equipment as well as the quality of those wires.

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Doctor helping older man access the internet on tabletDo you sometimes act as a ‘proxy internet user’ – where you use online services and applications on behalf of someone else who otherwise makes limited use of the internet? Proxy internet assistance often takes place within families – notably elderly parents being helped by their adult children. Other proxy users include people acting in a professional capacity – for example carers, social workers and other public-facing professionals who assist clients with specific online tasks.

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Hand writing 'consumer protection' on clear panel with marker

This tip sheet can help you complain about communciations privacy issues such as spam emails, telemarketing and privacy breaches. It can also help you to make complaints about privacy issues with social media websites like Facebook and services that track your location, such as Google Maps.

What is a privacy complaint?

Australian consumers have the right to make complaints about privacy issues. Privacy issues in the communications sector are becoming more common as we share more information online than ever before. These add to existing privacy issues relating to communications such as spam (unwanted emails from companies and organisations), telemarketing calls and the misuse of silent telephone numbers and personal information.

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Some phone numbers and text services cost you more than you expect. Always check what numbers are included, and which ones you pay extra for.

  • Premium SMS (e.g. a ringtone or weekly horoscope)

  • Expensive numbers (e.g. directory services from your mobile or 1900 lines)

  • Purchases from inside Apps

  • Credit Transfers between friends

  • Data usage (using the internet)

  • "Free" Apps that have lots of advertising

More information on these services can be found on the LawStuff website.

 

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The three biggest telcos have spend and usage tools to help you know how much of the different types of services you are using.

 

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Some providers have special deals available for people in special circumstances. Here are the ones we've heard of.

Telstra

InContact

InContact is a free limited service that offers incoming calls but restricts outgoing calls. Telstra customer service, service difficulties and fault numbers can be called.

PhoneAway Card

Telstra's prepaid calling card allows guests to make calls on a pre-paid basis, with the flexibility of being able to use the card from almost anywhere.

Sponsored Access Program

This aims to provide a phone service for people who seek shelter within emergency accommodation (one service only per property).

Telstra Bill Assistance Program

The program is designed to assist specific householders in maintaining access to a telephone service when difficulties arise.

CentrePay

CentrePay is a direct deduction facility offered by Centrelink to customers, who may choose to pay some household bills and other essential services.

Home Phone Budget

Home Phone Budget offers has a line rental plan that provides a relatively lower line rental price than standard services with higher call prices. It is designed for Telstra residential customers with just one fixed line service who make very few calls.

 

 

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Free calls to 1800 numbers - A great ACCAN achievement

Download: docHow to avoid 1800 number call charges on mobiles53 KB

Download: pdfHow to avoid 1800 number call charges on mobiles336.76 KB

Most Australian mobile providers (but not all) now offer free calls to 1800 numbers. Below is a list of providers that offer these calls for free.

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Download: docxWhich broadband product is right for my business.docx61.82 KB

Download: pdfWhich broadband product is right for my business.pdf336.92 KB

There are a range of different options available to small businesses when it comes to broadband. This tip sheet outlines the questions a small business owner should ask when choosing a broadband product.

When trying to decide which broadband product is right for your business, consider:

  • Which types of broadband services are available? For information on the services that may be available to you, access our brochure: Understanding your options for broadband connection.

  • What type of service would best suit the needs of the business in terms of speed, mobility and monthly data allowance? Refer to your broadband bills from the last 6-12 months to calculate your typical usage.

  • Do you need both phone and broadband services? If so, consider the option of bundling (getting all the services from the same provider). You might also want to include mobile services in this bundle. This could save you money but make sure that all the services meet your needs otherwise you could end up spending more than you need to.

  • Do you need to upload a lot of data? For example if you are operating a video streaming service or other content rich business.

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Which is the right telco deal for you?

Finding the right telco deal depends on what your needs are.

In this tip sheet we look at some good value products on the market that may be suitable for voice only and light internet users.

Remember it is a good idea to review your telecommunication services every year or two - if you have been on the same plan for a while, there may be new and better deals available.

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In a project funded by ACCAN, researchers at The University of Sydney analysed 61 top-rated mental health apps available to Australian consumers.

Mental health apps commonly collected consumer data, requested that consumers make in-app purchases, and made health claims. Although this is normal in the app world, we thought, “How would this stand up in the real world?”

[Jane looking at the hand massage signs. Thinks, “hmmm…just what I need”]

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USO tip sheet

Download: docxUniversal Service Obligation (USO) tip sheet23.95 KB

Download: pdfUniversal Service Obligation (USO) tip sheet2.63 MB

What is the telco Universal Service Obligation (USO)?

It means that you have the right to a standard fixed landline phone service provided by Telstra, regardless of where you live or work.

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 Choosing An Internet Plan cover image

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is Australia’s wholesale internet provider. This means that when you sign up for an NBN plan, you will need to order the service through a telco (e.g. Telstra, Optus, Vodafone etc.).

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SkyMuster Guide - 3rd Edition Cover Graphics

Sky Muster and Sky Muster Plus (or nbn’s Satellite Services) provide fast broadband coverage to around 430,000 homes and small businesses across regional, rural and remote Australia and its islands.

The 3rd edition of this extensive, easy to understand guide is now available for download in PDF and Word formats.

It covers topics such as:

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Family using technology

Throughout our lives, we accumulate a variety of assets. In the past, these have traditionally included things such as houses, cars, finances and other tangible possessions. These assets are considered when drawing up a will in the event of our passing.

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Woman with luggage walking towards airportThe sun is shining, cricket commentators are beginning to take over the airwaves, and barbeques across the country are being scrapped and cleaned ready for the first snags of the season; summer is coming to Australia and with it one of the nation’s busiest travel periods. Whether we’re road tripping across the country or travelling half-way across the world, many of us will find ourselves relying heavily on our phones during the summer holiday season. To help you make the most of your travel and avoid ruining your post-holiday glow with a nasty bill shock, we’ve curated our top tech travel tips.

Making a Complaint cover image

If you are unhappy with the service you are receiving from your telco, you can make a complaint.

How to make a complaint

Your telco will have information on their website on how to make a complaint. The steps below can help make it easier:

  1. Clearly state at the beginning that you are making a complaint and explain what it’s about.

  2. Save any emails and keep details of phone conversations (date, time and person you spoke with). If you use live chat on your telco’s website, make sure you save a copy of the conversation. You can do this by taking a screenshot on your computer, phone, or tablet. You can also take a photo of the conversation, or print it out.

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Choosing a Mobile Plan cover image

Prepaid or postpaid?

There are a wide range of pre and postpaid plans available on the market. The main benefit of using postpaid is that you can buy a new phone with these plans, while prepaid plans may be better if you want to avoid unexpected extra charges and already have a mobile phone.

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Using Your Mobile Phone cover image

Data and internet use

Track your usage

To avoid excess usage charges or running out of data, it’s important to know how much data is included with your phone plan. Once you know your data allowance, you can set a usage limit on your mobile phone. This can be done in your phone’s settings.

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Connecting and Troubleshooting Your NBN Home Internet cover image

Once you have chosen an NBN home internet plan, your telco will organise to have your home connected to the NBN.

Getting connected may differ depending on your home and the area you live in.

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Avoiding Phone and Internet cover image

Scammers are constantly changing the ways they work and adapting to new technologies. To keep yourself safe, it’s important to know how scammers can use phones and the internet to try to profit from your personal information.

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Mobile and Internet Everyday Money Saving Tips cover image

Phone and internet bills can quickly add up. To help you keep costs down, we’ve pulled together our top mobile and broadband money saving tips.

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Cant Afford My Bill cover image

Sometimes people are unable to pay their bills due to illness, unemployment, experiences of domestic or family violence, or other changes in circumstances.

It’s important not to ignore your bill, because there is help available.

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Choosing a Small Business NBN Internet Plan cover image

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is Australia’s wholesale internet provider. This means that when you sign up for an NBN plan, you must order the service through a telco (e.g. Telstra, Optus, TPG).

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Icon Easy English

Easy English focuses on presenting key information rather than all the detail. Words are combined with images to enhance the message for the reader. Ideally, reading an Easy English document is a shared activity between the reader and another person, such as a friend, a family member or support person.

ACCAN has produced the following guides in Easy English.

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Connecting and Using Your NBN Home Phone Service cover image

If you live in an urban area, it is likely that your home phone services will no longer be provided on Telstra’s network. Instead they will be provided over the NBN.

This means that even if you only want to keep your home phone service, you still need to connect to the NBN.

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Small Business Making a Complaint cover image

If you are unhappy with the service you are receiving from your telco, you can make a complaint.

Telcos have to follow rules about when small businesses can be disconnected, help they must provide if you can’t pay a bill, and more. If your small business spends less than $40,000 per year with one telco for your internet, landline and mobile phone services, you’re protected by these rules.

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 Aboriginal, Australian, and Torres Strait Flags

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 Picture of the Pitjantjatjara People's Land - Uluru

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