Choosing phone and broadband services

There are a wide range of offers available when you are choosing a phone or internet service so it pays to shop around. Compare different offers and think about the level of service you will be receiving and the contract terms and conditions, not just the price you will pay.


If you are shopping for broadband services, check out our broadband performance monitoring programme which provides independent information about broadband performance to help you choose the right technology, plans and providers to suit your needs. Our quick guide and video below will also help you choose the right type of broadband technology for your household.

Before you sign up with a provider, make sure you read the contract thoroughly to understand the terms and conditions. Pay particular attention to details like the amount of any early termination fees, and when they may be payable. If you take out a bundle of services and cancel one, this may impact on the amount you pay for your remaining services or attract charges for cancellation.


The Commission can take action to stop businesses using unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts. If you have had little or no opportunity to negotiate the terms of your contract with your supplier and you are not using phone or internet services in production or for resupply then you are likely to have entered a standard form consumer contract.

Generally a term is unfair if it puts you at an unfair advantage by creating a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations between you and the business, if it would cause you detriment if the business relied on it and the term is not reasonably necessary to protect the business needs. Terms that are unclear or hidden are more likely to be unfair than terms that are upfront and written in plain language.

If you believe you have a potentially unfair contract term you can make a complaint to us.

Read more about unfair contract terms.

Using and paying for phone and broadband services

How to improve your broadband performance

There are many factors that affect how your broadband is performing. Some are your broadband provider's responsibility, and some you may able to improve yourself. Check out our quick guides below on how your broadband is performing and how to improve your broadband and watch our video below.

You can also check out our broadband monitoring programme, which provides independent information about more than 3,000 New Zealand households' broadband performance. This information can help you choose the right technology, plans and providers to suit your needs.


Payments and billing

As a consumer you should get what you pay for and receive a clear and understandable bill, free from hidden charges.

We encourage you to read your bills, even if you have set up a direct debit, to ensure what you are charged is accurate. If you identify incorrect charges you should discuss this with your provider. Advice on how to resolve billing issues with your provider are detailed under the resolving issues tab.

Make sure you know your data allowance on your phone or broadband plan. This is usually measured in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB). Going over your data allowance can result in higher charges, or your provider could slow down your service. You can usually keep track of your usage by checking your provider's app or your account on their website. Some providers can also send you usage alerts. Be aware that usage data can be delayed so you may already be over your limit by the time you receive an alert.

Before you travel overseas with your mobile phone, check with your provider how much it will cost and what the charges are, or turn off mobile roaming, so you don't get a shock when you receive your bill. Many unexpected roaming charges are caused by background data usage. It is usually possible to switch off mobile data on your device to avoid these charges.

Resolving issues with phone and broadband services

If you have an issue with your telecommunications service, you should contact your provider in the first instance. Issues could include incorrect billing, being mislead about your telecommunications service or your service not being of an acceptable quality.

If it is in their control or responsibility, they are required to resolve the issue within a reasonable timeframe. If this does not happen, you may be able to cancel the service and/or seek reimbursement.


The Consumer Guarantees Act

Know your rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA) before you contact your provider. Knowing how you want your issue resolved and sharing that with your provider is also useful. Under the CGA the phone and broadband services you receive must be reliable and of an acceptable quality. If this guarantee is not met, your telecommunications retailer has an obligation to sort the problem out. You may also be entitled to a legal remedy in relation to the problem. You can find out more at Consumer Protection.


Making a complaint

If you are unable to resolve the issue with your provider there are a range of options available to you, including:

The Telecommunications Disputes Resolution (TDR) is a free and independent service to help consumers resolve most issues with telecommunications products and services such as billing issues, data usage and customer service. Find out more on the TDR website.

If your issue is a shared property access dispute when trying to connect your house to fibre broadband, contact the independent and free resolution service Utilities Disputes.

The Commerce Commission is not a dispute resolution service, however the information you supply can help us prevent misleading and anti-competitive behaviour by telecommunications companies. We may also be able take action in relation to any unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts. You can make a complaint to us by completing our online complaint form, emailing contact@comcom.govt.nz, or calling us on 0800 943 600.

If these dispute resolution schemes are unable to help you, you can also try the Disputes Tribunal which provides a low cost, independent and informal adjudication process.


Citizens Advice Bureau

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you if you're having problems with your telecommunications bills and want to understand what your rights and options are.

Visit the Citizens Advice Bureau website or contact them by phone on 0800 367 222.

The Commission's role

We are responsible for enforcing the Fair Trading Act and Commerce Act, which help ensure markets work well and consumers and businesses are confident market participants.

We can look into complaints that a telecommunications business has misled or deceived you in certain situations. We may use this information to open an investigation. You can make a report to us by calling us on 0800 943 600 or filling out a complaint form. We may also apply to the Court to have contract terms declared unfair.

We can also look into concerns a telecommunication business is using its market power to drive a competitor out of business or to prevent a new competitor from starting up.

Read more about our role.