Away For a Bit asked major Australian mobile operators about their policies on how next of kin can close accounts on behalf of someone who has died. Read what mobile operator policies are in the UK. No operators were able to state categorically what costs a family member or friend would need to cover from the deceased’s estate when finalising bills or if they required a handset to be returned in the event that one was included in the account plan. Vodafone did however state that the company does not generally expect the return of the handset or settlement of bills.
Telstra perhaps offered the most comprehensive overview of how their account closure worked in these circumstances, followed by Vodafone. Optus was pretty vague in offering details but did provide a customer number for the bereaved to call in such circumstances.
Here’s a line up of the major Australian mobile operators and what they outlined as their account closing policies for someone who has died.
According to Optus:
The Optus customer care team can assist with completing the necessary steps to cancel any contracts held by the deceased.
Optus makes every effort to waive standard charges made by the account holder before their death.
Those who wish to cancel a contract of a deceased customer should call 133 937.
The next of kin or executor of the estate will need to provide a death certificate.
Telstra suggests multiple ways for the bereaved to contact and sort out account closure or transfer. Customers can:
- Phone 13 2200 and say “Deceased Estate”
- Fax 1300 556 737
- Email email@example.com with “Bereavement Support” in the subject line
- Visit a Telstra store
Write to:Telstra Bereavement SupportLocked Bag 20026Melbourne Vic 3001
- The Executor, Trustee, or Administrator of the estate;
- Next of Kin (such as an immediate family member eg Parent, Son/Daughter, Sister/Brother, Grand Child, Surviving spouse or Guardian over the age of 18);
- Power of Attorney (General/Medical/Financial);
- A lawyer or solicitor administering the customer’s will; or
- An authorised representative listed on the account.
Death Certificate Requirements?
No need. Customers who are authorised to act on the deceased’s behalf need to fill out a bereavement support form.
Does the family/next of kin need to pay the remainder of the contract?
Unclear. Telstra states that mobile plans can be transferred and there may be charges to do so. In the event of this happening, some people qualify for concessions i.e. pensioners or those with medical priority assistance.
According to a Vodafone spokesperson:
Vodafone’s policy if someone passes away is fairly straightforward.
A family member or person managing the estate simply needs to contact Vodafone on 1300 650 410 with the account holder’s details and notify us that he/she has passed away.
The family member then has the option to either close other account or transfer it into their name (some people wish to keep the deceased person’s phone number). Vodafone generally doesn’t require the return of the handset or settlement of bills.