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Kogan on back foot after users accuse company of revoking their mobile service

Thursday, 21 March | By Patrick Stafford

Tech entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan, known for his attention-grabbing marketing tactics, is on the back foot after users have accused his company, Kogan Mobile, of refusing to renew their mobile phone services.


But the company has pointed to its Acceptable Use Policy instead, which mandates users cannot use their services excessively.


The entrepreneur himself has been unusually quiet on the issue, although he has released a statement arguing the company has done nothing wrong.


"Kogan Mobile procures and on-sells an Unlimited Plan with 6GB/month data from Telstra's partner," he said. "Telstra's partner is under significant pressure to restrict excess usage on the Telstra Network. This pressure is not being applied by Kogan Mobile.


"It is not Kogan Mobile, but Telstra's partner, that administers the Acceptable Use Policy."


A group of users have complained Kogan did not renew their services, citing excessive usage. Some have cited terms and conditions contained in Kogan's policy which mandate users download no more than 400MB of data per day.


Users are irate after being promised deals with "unlimited" calls and text messages, along with 6GB of data, for only $29 per month – an unusually low price for such a high amount of content.


Some users have taken to online forums such as Whirlpool to complain about their alleged treatment.


The Australian Communications and Media Authority has been cracking down on telcos misusing the words "unlimited" and "cap" in the past year, given the introduction of the new industry code. But Kogan says it is simply abiding by its acceptable use policy.


Kogan's policy stresses that it can be changed at any time, and that mobile products must not be used for commercial use or for use as a permanent connection.


It also states users must not stay connected to the service continuously for an unreasonable amount of time, or "download or upload an unreasonable volume of data".


Users are also told they should not download gigabytes of data in a short period.


ACMA told SmartCompany in a statement it can neither confirm nor deny whether it is investigating the company.


"We are actively monitoring compliance with the TCP," a spokesperson said.


The controversy comes after Kogan introduced the mobile services late last year as part of a new push into services, alongside traditional consumer electronics.


This story first appeared on SmartCompany.