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The Great Talking Points Rip-Off 22 May 2001 Edition
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If you have a phone then you earn talking points -- it's Telecom's way of encouraging you to use their offerings for all of your phone and toll-related services.

Each time you spend a dollar with Telecom, you earn more points and these points are accumulated until you become eligible to exchange them for any of a list of products contained in a regular flyer they send to customers or featured on their Talking Points website. Sounds great doesn't it?

If you rack up charges on your phone bill as quickly as I do then you can earn a shiny new trinket every few months.

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CDs, computer gear, cordless phones, kitchen appliances, tools -- they're all available to be purchased with your accumulated points.

But hang on a minute -- before you rush off and exchange your points for products, consider this...

Although they don't make a lot of noise about it, Telecom will exchange your points for cash to be used against paying your phone bill or other Telecom charges at a rate of $1 for every 400 points you have.

This means that if your phone bill is $40 you can pay it in full by relinquishing 16,000 points.

So, using this value metric, just what sort of value do those Talking Points trinkets represent?

Well you can get this Black & Decker cordless drill for 65,000 talking points (that's $162.50) -- or you could save nearly $30 and buy the same drill from Mitre10 for just $139. Telecom charges you 20% more than retail!

Okay, what about this Dido CD? You can get it for $40 worth of Talking Points from Telecom -- or you could save over $15 and buy the same thing from CDStar for $24.95. Telecom charges you 60% more than retail!

Then there's the Panasonic KXTC1005 cordless phone that Telecom will sell you for $135 worth of talking points but which Dick Smith Electronics lists for just $109. Telecom charges you 24% more than retail!

Readers Say
(updated hourly)

  • talking points... - bede

  • Price Rise... - Dave
  • Talking Points... - Chris
  • Telecom rental phone charges... - Wen
  • Have Your Say
    So what's my point? Why complain -- after all it's not like you're actually paying cash for these Talking Points goodies are you?

    Well hell yes -- you are effectively paying cash because those points could be redeemed to pay your phone bill, thus leaving more cash in your pocket or bank account.

    So -- don't spend your talking points on the shiny trinkets that Telecom tries to flog you at greatly inflated prices -- redeem them at 400 to the dollar against your next phone bill and then, if you really want that shiny chrome toaster or desktop scanner you saw in the Talking Points brochure, go and buy it with cash -- you'll come out many dollars better off!

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