Melbourne-based telecommunications provider, Crunch Tel, has been warned over transferring customers to its service without their consent.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) revealed today that in October 2016, 408 customers were transferred from Crunch Networks Pty Ltd to Crunch Tel as part of the sale of the supplier’s business assets.
The problem is that neither Crunch Networks, which was placed in liquidation in December 2016, nor Crunch Tel contacted customers to obtain their consent, let them know what was happening, or informed them of their termination rights.
Crunch Tel specialise in small to medium size businesses, providing tailored telecommunication solutions. It offers NBN services and residential services including home phone, internet and mobile.
The Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code prevents this type of transactions including when customers’ transfers happen as a result of one service provider selling its business to another.
“Customers have the right to know that they are being transferred between service providers and must consent to that transfer prior to it taking place,” ACMA chair, Nerida O’Loughlin, said.
“It is unacceptable for a telco to notify its consumers that their services have been transferred after the event,” O’Loughlin added.
Crunch Tel is not the first telco to illegally transfer customers without their knowledge. In June, Melbourne-based Sprint Telco had to pay $10,800 in penalties for allegedly making false or misleading representations.
According to ACMA, in October 2016, Sprint Telco made a false or misleading representation to a consumer during a telemarketing call.
The customer in question was transferred from Telstra to Sprint Telco, according to the ACCC. It is alleged that Sprint Telco represented to the consumer that it was acting as Telstra’s agent or with Telstra’s approval, when that was not the case.
“While this investigation focussed on Crunch Tel’s failures, its findings serve as a reminder to all telcos of their obligations under the Code regarding transfers and other important consumer protections,’ O’Loughlin added.
ARN has contacted Crunch Tel for comment.