If you've ever tried to contact Centrelink, your bank or a legal firm over the phone, you already know how frustrating the waiting process can be. But if you happen to be calling from a mobile phone, you're also wasting money along with your precious time.
While calls from landlines to 1800, 1300 and 13 numbers cost 30 cents at most, mobile phones are charged between 22 cents and $1.78 per minute for the same call. It is therefore perilously easy to rack up a sizeable phone bill while waiting to be connected.
The good news is that the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is looking to fix this discrepancy via its Fair Calls For All campaign - but it needs help.
"After a year of community calls for action, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is now proposing to regulate so that 1800 numbers will be free and 13/1300 numbers will cost about 30 cents to call from a mobile phone," explains the ACCAN website.
"In 2011, it doesn’t make sense that landline and mobile call charging systems are different for these important numbers. We’re a mobile nation and we need our numbers and call rates to reflect this."
The Communications Alliance, which boasts most major telcos as members, has already dismissed the proposal as unrealistic and disruptive, but the final decision will be up to the ACMA. Subsequently, the ACCAN wants support to encourage the ACMA to push this decision through.
There are several ways people can support the cause, including:
- Telling the ACMA you want "Fair Calls For All".
- Adding a 'supporters badge' to your website, if you have one.
- Become an official business or organisation supporter.
The ACMA is asking for feedback on their proposed changes by the end of the month (30/11/11). Visit http://faircalls.good.do/action to lend your support.