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01telephoneOK – I confess to being permanently attached to my keyboard and a regular internet user – in fact into all forms of technology.  It’s just one area where I have been very slow – but for good reason!  I didn’t need and really couldn’t afford a “real” mobile phone – you know, one that does everything whether you need it or not.  My need for a mobile phone was limited to a safety tool for me if I was out in my car on my own at night.

In the last half of last year I had a chance to spend time on-hold on the telephone – being made redundant it meant I had more time at home while applying for jobs to catch up on all the different “gunna” tasks that I didn’t have time to do while I was working full-time.

So I investigated my telephone options and ending up saving a large amount each month by consolidated various services and bundling them through Telstra who I had been with for about 4 decades.

I ended up with a mobile phone that allowed me to make unlimited free calls after 7.00 pm during the week and all weekend – that certainly suited my needs and the smart phone helped with job searching etc.

Another consequence of being made redundant and not being able to get a job [too old they say!] – I started a Diploma in Library and Information Services online through Swinburne University.  Not realising how much it would affect my Internet download limits I started watching my Telstra account closely.

This month I identified a couple of large charges that were my fault – something I should have known but didn’t.  They might sound like smarll charges to you but to someone watching their pennies I considered them large.

CASE 1: I live in Ocean Grove, Victoria – phone prefix 03-52nnnnnn.  I have friends in Lara which also has a phone prefix 03-52nnnnnn.  I was silly enough to think they were in the same area and therefore a local call.  WRONG!  They are charged at STD rates despite being reasonably close to each other – $18.25 for the call.

MENTAL note to myself – DON’T ring “local” numbers during the day – wait until after 7.00 pm when these calls are free from my mobile.

CASE 2: It is the trend these days for people to do away with their landline and operate from their mobile only.  This sounds like a great scenario for many people and saves them money.  The other week a friend rang me and left a message on my home phone [Landline].  Stupidly I just hit reply to their call – it was on a Sunday.  My mistake?  Of course it was to a mobile number and consequently I was charged STD rates even though I was just calling “locally” to Geelong.  Just over an hour later I suddenly realised that I was ringing a mobile.  I hung up and rang my friend back using my mobile – free to use on weekends.  I spent another hour on the phone helping to solve a problem – $17.84 for the first hour and $0.00 for the second hour & a half.

MENTAL note to myself – From your landline, DON’T hit reply in case it was from a mobile phone!

LONG-TERM MENTAL notes to myself:

  • Don’t presume that a phone number is local just because it has the same area code and prefix
  • Don’t reply to a message in case it’s from a mobile phone
  • Reconsider accepting a terrific offer from Telstra or whoever to get rid of your Landline – it could be costing your friends a lot of money to get in touch with you, particularly if they don’t have a mobile phone with various free options.

Even though these high charges were my fault, in fairness to Telstra they have agreed to credit one of them back to me.  They didn’t have to and I thank them for their considertation.

Just think twice before you make phonecalls!