Telcos get final warning over complaint-handling rules
- 18 December, 2018 10:30
There are 31 telecommunications providers who are facing enforcement action for not documenting its complaint handling processes appropriately.
Out of the 41 telcos only seven were not found in breach of the new rules, three undertook comprehensive remediation to move into full compliance during the investigation process, 27 telcos took positive steps to remediate and four telcos took inadequate steps to remediate.
Australian Broadband, Flip TV, OzTalk Communications and Simply NBN, which trades as Hello Broadband, have been directed to fix their complaint handling systems by 19 December or face serious penalties.
ACMA warned the telcos on 4 December informing the actions to be taken in order to comply with clause 1 Schedule 2 in the Telecommunications Act 1997.
ACMA told the telcos to establish a written complaint handling process, the process needs to be approved by the company's CEO or equivalent, then make the process available on its websites, have a link on its homepage to access the complaint page and notify ACMA.
"Having a documented complaints-handling process available for customers should be standard practice for every telco", said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.
"Consumers should know how their telco will deal with their complaint. They should also have confidence that their complaint will be dealt with effectively, without ‘buck-passing’ across the service supply chain.
"Effective complaints-handling is even more critical as the migration of customers to services delivered over the NBN reaches its peak," O’Loughlin added.
"The ACMA has put in place a comprehensive set of rules to ensure the telco industry lifts its game in complaints-handling. We are now moving to enforce those rules."
ACMA also issued formal warning to 27 telcos including Aussie broadband, Dodo Services, Exetel, iiNet, Internode, My Net Fone Australia, MyRepublic, Singtel Optus, Telstra, TPG and Vodafone among others.
Earlier this year, ACMA had already busted telecommunications providers for failing to comply with a direction from the industry regulator regarding the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code.
As a result, Telecommunications provider Lycamobile paid $12,600 in penalties after an investigation by ACMA found that it failed to lodge its annual documents attesting to compliance with the code.
In 2018, suppliers had until 1 September to lodge the compliance statement. Those who fail may be investigated by ACMA.
According to ACMA, 358 suppliers submitted code compliance documents in 2017. The industry regulator has investigated those who failed to submit and directed ReddeNet, Globalgig Australia, Vocal Channels and Digital Technologies and Telecommunications to comply with the code.
In August 2018, ACMA issued formal warnings to seven providers so far including Lynham Networks, Vostronet Australia, BMP Australia Group, Central Connect, Red Telecom, MyRepublic and Peak Connect.
A few months before, in April, it had also issued formal warnings to Your Call Telecom, EHW Technology and Easy Internet Services.