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Judgment in Business Services Brokers v Beveridge

14 July 2017

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against a decision of a judge of the County Court of Victoria, in Business Services Brokers v Beveridge. The applicant, Business Services Brokers ('TeleChoice') claimed the Respondent (Mr Beveridge) owed $34,945 for international roaming charges.

Mr Beveridge’s mobile phone was stolen from him and used as part of a fraud while he was visiting Barcelona. Mr Beveridge had activated the international roaming feature on the phone, which allowed him to make calls and send text messages while travelling. The fraud involved the SIM card from the mobile phone being used to divert hundreds of calls and text messages from Australia to mobile phone numbers mainly in Latvia. In less than 20 hours, more than 1,000 hours of diverted calls were made. TeleChoice sought to enforce a bill of $34,945 against Mr Beveridge, which he refused to pay. A judge in the County Court found that TeleChoice was not entitled to the amount it claimed from Mr Beveridge under the contract.
The Court of Appeal upheld the judge’s decision. The contract imposed an obligation to pay for calls on international roaming when the customer’s phone was used, but there was no obligation to pay in this case as Mr Beveridge’s SIM card (not his phone) had been used as part of a fraud.

NOTE:  This summary is necessarily incomplete.  It is not intended as a substitute for the Court’s reasons or to be used in any later consideration of the Court’s reasons.  The only authoritative pronouncement of the Court’s reasons and conclusions is that contained in the published reasons for judgment.

Read the Court's full judgment on Austlii (External link)

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