Telco customer protection code fails to win over ACCAN

Telco customer protection code fails to win over ACCAN

The telco consumer group has rejected the revised TCP code submitted by Communications Alliance

Telco industry group, Communications Alliance, has completed a revised Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) code but not everybody is happy with the end result.

The objective of the revised TCP code is to simplify telecommunications related advertising and give customers ways to prevent “bill shock’ which is usually a result of users not understanding what exactly they are paying for.

A draft of the code was published last October.

The new code introduces a number of measures to prevent ‘bill shock’ such as clearer pricing information such as a “Plan Essentials” summary and improve complaints handling for telco customers.

CommsAlliance also proposed the establishment of a new independent body monitor and ensure industry compliance to the TCP code.

The revised code has been submitted to the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) for registration.

CommsAlliance mentioned the new TCP code was created through collaborative involvement with industry stakeholders including the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN). But ACCAN has come out to oppose the revised code citing inadequate consumer protection.

“The TCP code doesn’t meet the ACMA’s demands in terms of either advertising or spend management,” ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, said in a statement. “Specifically, it doesn’t address requirements regarding advertising and doesn’t give customers the ability to properly monitor their usage and avoid bill shock.”

The telco consumer group claimed the TCP code still fails to adequately address a number of issues. Some of the things ACCAN was displeased with in the code were misleading advertising terms, such as ‘Cap’ will only be banned for new products, no real-time notifications so customers can track spending and no commercially significant consequences for non-compliance with the new code.

For those reasons, ACCAN has rejected the revised TCP code.

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