I'm on a Disability Support Pension, and am waiting in the queue for housing, and have been for five years. It is a requirement that I have a contact number at all times, and if I do not respond to that number, I lose my place in the queue.
Until recently, I used a landline as a contact number. However, the NBN rollout has meant the end to that, with peoplke unable to get service for up to 6 months. I have to respond to a call within two days, so that's not an option. A mobile is now compulsory or I become homeless.
Consequently, I have spent days trying to find out how the prepaid plans work for various providers, so as to be able to call FACS and Centrelink with confidence. In the past, I have waited hours to get through to them, only to be put on hold and (accidentally i hope) lost the connection. This is normal and nothing to worry about if you use a landline.
Using a mobile, it's not at all clear how much you get charged for the call. No-one at JB Hifi, the people who sold me this starter pack, could find out from the website. Is it at a flat rate? Is it charged by the minute, in which case I will have to take a taxi and use someone's landline? Who knows? It's just not clear.
FACS (formerly the Housing Commission, back in the days they did housing) has a contact number of 1800 422 322. Is that a premium number? It's not a free call, but from a landline it's just rated as a standard call.
What about Centrelink? https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/contact-us/phone-us "mobiles may incur a higher charge"
Centrelink doen't know how much it costs to call them from a mobile. The staff at the assorted phone companies I visited don't know. I've read the T&C over and over and it depends on the definition of "premium", which doesn't seem to be written down anywhere.
Finally, I was running out of time as I am moving house and need to provide a phone number. The shop assistant suggested trying Boost and if it doesn't work, i've blown $30. That's not trivial for a pensioner. As far as I can see, I have to call them, and then after the call, use the Boost app to see how much Boost charged me for the call. That seems back to front. Shouldn't I be able to check before I sign up to the service?
Calls on Boost Mobile Pre Paid Plans are Unlimited to standard national numbers + MessageBank® retrieval & 1300/1800 numbers
For example please see the details for the the $30 recharge plan here: http://boost.com.au/shop/7gb-for-30/
In the breakdown of plan inclusions you will see "Calls" and then details showing the unlimited nature of calls to 1800 numbers within Australia.
Basically, yes, you can call centrelink from your Boost mobile on one of our plans and call Centrelink without worrying about chewing up all your credit.
"$30. That's not trivial for a pensioner".
SAVE 4 WEEKS' PAYMENT PER YEAR:
Just a bit extra to add, if not already seen on Boost's site.
By setting up an Automatic payment for each full CALENDER MONTH (28 to 31 days inclusive) you only pay 12 x $30 per year; instead of 13 x $30 on the 28 day cycle.
I have used this 'set and forget' (for the same payment amount & date each month) since Boost started this system.
To read up on it, go to > RECHARGE & NETWORK SUPPORT > scroll down about 12 or so (as at 10th) > 'AUTOMATIC RECHARGE - what you need to know'. By Tommy R, 18/07/17. He covers it well.
Just a 'check note', once you have set it up:
Go back into the system a few hours later to check your settings have taken > 'AUTO RECHARGE' > 'Check your existing auto recharge'. It should show the amount selected ($30/ mth); with the monthly date that you selected - FROM the following month onwards.
Your currennt/ 1st month of billing will be payed from the 'JBHiFi method' you start with or a 'manual online card payment', if already set up, instead. The 1st 28 days has to be payed for and activated, before any 'Auto Pay' can be entered for the following months.
Boost still have a glitch in their automatic notification system (by Text, a few days before your Auto pay date comes up each month). It sometimes, but not always, says that you are payed up until the day AFTER your chosen date. My chosen Auto Pay date is 1st of each month; but I get told that I have credit to the 2nd (wrong!). Watch out for this incorrect, extra day. Boost take out my $30 during the chosen date (1st for me). Just ensure you have that $30 available for payment on your chosen day, whatever notification is sent to you!
Hope this ensures that you save an extra $30/ year!