Internode Blog

Changing plans – your choice, your responsibility

Saturday, April 17th, 2010 by

This post explains what happens when Internode changes its customer service plans (which happens on a semi-regular basis); How Internode notifies you when this happens, and why it’s ultimately up to you, not Internode, to decide whether you wish to take advantage of any new plans that may become available over time.

While this occurs most often in the context of ADSL Broadband plans, it applies to any sort of services Internode supplies to its customers.

We’ll do this in a “Q & A” format.

Why does Internode change plans?

From time to time, Internode changes its plans, for all sorts of reasons.

Sometimes it’s because there have been improvements in our supply costs or conditions that allow us to pass on better value points to our customers.

Sometimes because we have built new infrastructure that lets us offer entirely new services (or new features on existing services).

Sometimes it’s… ‘just because’.

When plans change, how does Internode tell me about it?

We go to a lot of trouble to notify our customers when plans change. They are not a secret.

We want you to know when this happens, and we want you to make a decision (if you wish to) about changing plans if you wish to.

We use a lot of notification paths to ensure our customers have every opportunity to know about revised plans.

Here are the ones we use routinely:

  • An email bulletin to our customer base
  • Notification on our bills, usually linked to our new plans summary page (This page generally documents the most recent change of plans undertaken by Internode
  • A press release on the Internode web site (these releases also turn up on various online media news sites)
  • Information about new plans posted directly on the Internode home page and of course updated plan tables on the web site too.
  • Discussion at the Internode forum on Whirlpool (This is a great place to explore the implications of new plans and talk them over with other customers and Internode staff)
  • A direct email to your normal billing destination (email, fax or paper, as appropriate) about the change of plans (this is done in some cases but not all, depending on the nature of the plan revisions concerned)

What happens to plans that are superseded by newer ones?

Generally, when we revise a plan table, some plans wind up being removed from sale to new customers. This process is commonly referred to as ‘grandfathering’ plans.

Such a plan has not gone away. It’s still exactly the same as it was the day before. We are simply not offering that plan for sale to new customers.

In practically all cases, Internode supports such grandfathered plans indefinitely – for as long as there are still customers that continue to use them. From time to time we send out additional notifications to customers on such ‘old’ plans, reminding them that they may find better choices on the Internode web site.

Why doesn’t Internode automatically change customer plans when ‘something better’ turns up?

When you chose your current plan, you made a decision about the price you wished to pay, and the value that Internode offered you in return for that price (speed, quota, other technical features).

Our contractual agreement with you is to continue to supply what we promised we would supply, and at the price that we promised to charge. If new plans appear and the plan you’re currently on becomes ‘grandfathered’, the situation noted in the previous paragraph has not changed – you are still receiving precisely what you agreed to pay for.

There are a number of reasons why Internode can’t just move you, automatically, to a new plan when our plan tables are revised.

Here are just some of them:

  • We have contracted with you to supply a particular service, and without your permission, we are limited in what we can unilaterally change without your acknowledgement. Whether ‘better’ or ‘worse’, you need to know about it. And we notify you about it in many ways, as noted above. The best way to obtain your acknowledgement (and permission for change) is to do so by notifying you that new plans exist and asking you to decide what outcome you prefer.
  • While we have both 1 month and 24 month contract term options for our customers, unlike some other providers, we don’t lock you in to being stuck on one plan for the whole contract period. But the flip side of this flexibility is that simple expectation that you decide when plans change, rather than having Internode decide for you.
  • Despite what you may think, for most Internode plan changes, it’s not at all obvious what the ‘best’ plan is for you to move to. We’ll cover this in more detail below, but this is, again,  why we ask you to take responsibility and make a choice directly, if you wish to change at all.
  • The Internode plan changing mechanism allows for one change of plan per billing period. If Internode automatically selects a plan to be applicable for the next billing period, this actually stops you choosing a different plan online until the following billing period. So our guess, if we were to make one, could override your personal decision, causing you delayed access to your preferred outcome until the following billing cycle.

You can request a planchange online any time you like, and that change becomes effective at the start of your next billing period. When you request a change, clearly, this satisfies the requirement that you are not having your plan changed without your knowledge and/or permission.

But surely it’s obvious which plan you should automatically move me to?

When new plans appear, here are just some of the possible answers to what the ‘best’ new plan could be for you.

Some of these possible answers apply for a given plan change, and some don’t – depending on the nature and features of the new plan table, its conditions, and upon the specific plan you’re on right now.

Here goes:

  • You might want to obtain a higher quota at the same (or a slightly higher) price.
  • The new plan might count uploads in the total quota concerned, with the old plan offering unlimited uploads (or vice versa) – making the comparison more complicated than merely comparing the two quota numbers
  • You might want to obtain the same (or a similar) quota but for a lower price
  • You might want to engage in bundling of your phone service with Internode (NodeLine) to obtain a lower price or to obtain a different speed or a different quota. Or alternatively you might be dead against bundling and you’d prefer to pay a bit more and retain a different choice of line rental supplier.
  • You might want to use an improvement in value points to trade up from our HOME plan table to a higher service level (such as SOHO or BUSINESS) offering different technical features.
  • You might want to use a change in value points to select a plan running at a different line speed, perhaps obtaining a faster service at a similar price and quota to your current plan.
  • The new plan choices may, sometimes, be of lower value, at your current price point, than the plan you’re on now (and you may wish to stay on your existing plan for precisely that reason, rather than having us push you on to some other plan instead).

These choices are often mutually exclusive.

Where there is not a precise match between the price points of the superseded plans and the new plans, some choices involve a hybrid of decisions, where you may choose, for instance, to pay a little more to obtain a lot more quota, or indeed you may prefer to pay a little less for slightly less quota, etc.

Sometimes new plans have different conditions associated with them that you may or may not like (requiring bundling to obtain the best price, different technical features such as a change in line speed or line protocols, changes in shaping conditions, etc)

Sometimes the ideal answer for you involves paying a little more for a lot more value – but we can’t just raise your price without your permission!

The bottom line is that we can’t decide this for you. You need to make a choice.

We can’t just pick one and hope it’s right, because this might conflict directly with what you actually want.

If you don’t care to make a decision to change, then we continue to provide exactly what you asked us to do at exactly the price you agreed to pay for it.

When we provide you with new choices, the onus upon you to change your plan, if (and only if) you actually want to do so.

If you are happy with what you’re paying, and you don’t need more quota, and you don’t want to move to a lower speed, then it actually doesn’t matter a lot if you don’t move to a plan offering a higher quota at the same price.

If you feel that you want to pay less for the same quota, or if you do start deciding to download more than your current plan offers, thats great: Just elect to change your plan online.

How can I make sure I find out whenever plans change?

The simplest way is to read the messages that Internode sends to you, by the various means we’ve already noted earlier.

The primary path is the Internode Bulletins mailing list. Sometimes people wind up changing email addresses or otherwise ‘falling off of the list’.

You can click here to subscribe to the Internode Bulletins mailing list and receive Internode bulletins to any email address you choose.

You can also view past Internode bulletins online if you’re not sure whether you’ve kept up to date with new developments from Internode.

What happens if I do nothing at all about new plans?

Well, if you don’t change your mind, we keep providing exactly what we promised to provide, at exactly the price we promised to provide it.

If you are on a plan that becomes ‘very old’, then from time to time, Internode provides a reminder to customers on superseded plans that there are other plans they may wish to move to.

However, this is over and above the underlying responsibility that you have to look after your own decisions.

In the end, it really is your decision – and Internode encourages you to consider each and every plan change as an opportunity that you may wish to take advantage of.

With freedom, comes responsibility.

We give you the freedom to change plans, even within a contract, without penalty.

You take the responsibility to make the decision to do so (or not), entirely at your option.

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