Consumers warned against 'rogue' prepaid phone cards

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned people to be wary of certain "rogue" prepaid phone card operators who con customers with hidden charges.

According to News Limited, the commission is already taking legal action against four providers for misleading advertising amid complaints from consumer advocate group Choice.

The group has noted that while industry guidelines that came into force in 2009 were a positive step, full disclosure of fees and charges is still not required at the point of sale.

It was observed that while the BestCall phone card provides 1.9c per minute calls to Britain, this is charged in five-minute blocks with a minimum charge of five minutes and a 25c disconnection fee for calls of more than five minutes.

Other cards, such as Cardcall’s Hot card, charge a service fee every two days after the first use, the news provider observed.

Such news may interest Aussies who wish to compare debit cards in search of the best terms and conditions. Issuing the advice to consumers, ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said: "The law is very simple – it says be honest and don’t mislead but as in any business. . . you will inevitably find some rogues."

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