How to Stop Third Party Purchases on Telstra

how to stop third party purchases on telstra

Content purchases / Third party contents

If you notice some questionable charges on your phone bill, then you might have made some third party content purchases without knowing it. These types of charges are from third party companies offering services that have nothing to do with your telco. Such purchases can include collect calls, digital content like apps and games, voting on live events, etc.

Third party content subscriptions might take the form of premium SMS services. In this case, the third party company sends a text message asking you to subscribe. Subscriptions go into effect with a simple tap – or in some cases, when you reply the text message with an affirmative answer. The same simple subscription process can be seen on websites, where a single click can opt you into a pricey subscription.

Because of how easy it is to subscribe to such content purchases, many phone users accept their terms mistakenly. Perhaps a user might tap “Accept” without even knowing it, in an attempt to skip through pop ups or junk text messages.

And a third party subscription can quickly become a very expensive endeavor, with exorbitant weekly and monthly charges being the norm, all charged directly to your phone bill or your phone credits.

For instance, Telstra customers complained about unauthorized third party charges on their phone bills a few years ago. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) then launched an investigation into the matter, accusing Telstra of misleading customers with such third party content. Telstra admitted to the charges and took a series of steps to put an end to it.

However, not all content purchases are from third parties. Telcos like Telstra also offer entertainment content in some phone plans. These usually include live sports content, and many Australians actually like such services.

But when it comes to unauthorized charges from third parties, you might want to unsubscribe as soon as possible to avoid further charges. In this post, we’ll tell you how to stop third party purchases on Telstra. The same steps should apply similarly to other telcos as well, so read on to find out.

How third party purchases are made

As we’ve stated, third party purchases are often made unintentionally. All it usually takes is a simple tap to subscribe, or a text message to a premium number that starts with “19”. Because of how swift the sign up process is, many users subscribe unknowingly, leading to surprise charges on their phone bills.

But in some cases, third party purchases are legitimate and actually useful. For instance, voting on your favorite act on Popular TV shows like X Factor might require an SMS to a premium number indicating who you’re voting for, or perhaps a click on a website to indicate your vote. Once your text message is sent, you’ll be charged by that third party. The same applies to games, apps, etc.

How to stop third party purchases on Telstra

But what if you make a third party purchase mistakenly? How do you stop it? Thankfully, Telstra customers don’t have to worry too much about this.

Telstra promised to put an end to third party charges by December of 2017. And as of last year, 15 December 2021, Telstra completely scrapped their Premium SMS and calls to premium numbers. This means that Telstra customers are now safe from unauthorized third party purchases.

However, if you’re still being charged for third party purchases, you can contact Telstra to ask why and put a stop to it:

  • Postpaid customers – Dial 13 2200 > when prompted, say “Third Party Purchases”.
  • Prepaid customers – Dial 125 8880 > press 5 > press 1.

Regardless of which telco’s SIM plan you use, you can contact them to put an end to third party purchases. You can also contact the third party company to end your subscription:

  • Text the word STOP to the premium number, which is usually a short code number. Do not text any other word, phrase, or character.
  • For Premium SMS charges, you can also find out more info about the company charging you by visiting the 19 service finder website and entering the “19” premium number. 
  • You can then visit the third party company’s website and opt out in their settings menu. If none is available, search for the company’s contact information and inform them of your desire to unsubscribe.
  • You can also request a refund if you contact the company directly and claim you didn’t authorize the subscription.

Summing up

Third party purchases on your phone bill are an area which is fraught with dissatisfied customers. Of course, some of the content out there is legitimate – premium SMS, for example, or a particular ring tone or video you actually wanted to buy. 

But there are also a lot of ‘dodgy’ content providers out there making a lot of money from overcharging customers in a way which is often not very easy to see. How many people actually go through each line of their phone bill? How many will take the trouble to call Telstra and turn off the facility for third party purchases? Probably not many. 

In our view, the whole idea of third party purchases should be stopped. Thankfully, Telstra has put an end to the practice and, hopefully, other telcos will follow suit.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.