1 Jun 2011


Politics blogs
Asher Moses
June 1, 2011 - 11:36AM:  Edited by S W T Read
The current state of affairs is not acceptable, the Telco's contracts are so convoluted that no one has any chance of understanding them and they allow the Telco's to load charges that are unable to be verified by reading the contract.
Everyone who has a phone or Internet  connection knows just that dealing with Telco's makes going to the dentist positively enjoyable.
These are some of the measures about to be applied:

  • Ban on misleading terms such as "cap" and "unlimited"

  • Consumers set maximum spend and monitor in real time

  • Blocks on excess charges if telcos fail to act

  • Supermarket-style unit pricing

  • Minimum complaints handling standards

  • Telco's will be forbidden from using advertising terms such as "cap" and be forced to implement supermarket-style unit pricing, new measures to prevent shock billing under strict new regulations recommended by the regulator.

    The Australian Communications and Media Authority  this morning released the draft report of its Reconnecting the Customer inquiry.

    Consumer groups have described it as a "well researched expose" of the poor state of customer service and complaints handling among telcos.

    The inquiry was sparked by a continued surge in complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), which reached 210,000 last year.

     ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said this complaint level was just the "tip of the iceberg".

    Research has shown that only a fraction of consumers even know about the TIO and its complaints-handling process.

    Telcos will be given time to implement ACMA's recommendations in their own self-regulatory industry codes.

    If they do not do so in a satisfactory way ACMA said it would force them to do so with new regulations.

    "The outcomes that we are seeking ... are non-negotiable," Mr Chapman said.

    One of the key ACMA recommendations is a ban on terms such as "cap" and "unlimited", which often mislead consumers as in most cases the "cap" represents a minimum rather than maximum spend.

    Claims of broadband speeds would also need to be substantiated.

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