Telecoms sector revises consumer protection code

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 25 March, 2019

Telecoms sector revises consumer protection code

Communications Alliance, the peak body for Australia's telecommunications industry, has submitted an upgraded Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code to regulator ACMA.

The draft version of the revised code has been prepared following a review undertaken by a committee featuring representatives from the industry, consumer groups, government and regulators.

Proposed changes span a range of areas, with a focus on selling practices, credit assessment and transparency around customer service performance.

New provisions would introduce stronger rules about fair selling practices, introduce new credit assessment requirements for large contracts and expand requirements for ensuring customers are clear on the terms of the contracts they agree to.

Financial hardship provisions will also be expanded to streamline the application and assessment process for granting relief to struggling consumers.

Customers will meanwhile be granted increased access to their customer service records to assist in reaching resolutions to complaints and issues.

Communications Alliance has also proposed that the top 10 recipients of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman be required to participate in the currently voluntary Complaints in Context industry-published quarterly report to the Ombudsman.

“These changes are proposed to the ACMA Authority for their consideration, and we look forward to their feedback on the revised code. We will work with the ACMA over the coming months to facilitate registration of the code,” Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said.

“The revised code, in combination with the ACMA Industry Standard on Complaints Handling, and Communications Compliance increasing their education activities across industry, is an excellent example of the telecommunications co-regulatory system creating stronger protections for consumers while ensuring the industry can remain innovative and offer value to all consumers.”

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