Feds Crack Down On Slack Phone Companies

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Phone companies will have to compensate customers up to $50 per day for every day it takes to repair a telephone fault or if they do not connect a telephone service within the Customer Service Guarantee timeframes, ICT Minister Senator Helen Coonan, announced today.

The measure aims to toughen the Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) – introduced by the Howard Government in 1998 to ensure Australian consumers get their phones connected and repaired on time.

“The CSG penalties, which are paid directly to the affected customer, have been increased by 21 per cent. From now on, if someone’s telephone fault is not fixed within the CSG timeframes, they will be paid up to $50 per day for every day it takes to repair the fault,” Senator Coonan said.

“While CSG compliance rates have been consistently above the 90 per cent level deemed satisfactory by ACMA, these changes provide additional incentives for service providers to improve their performance, and give consumers a more appropriate level of compensation if they fail to do so.

“I have also tightened the industry exemption arrangements to ensure that service providers will not be exempt from the CSG timeframes in the case of predictable events.

“Service providers will now only be able to claim CSG exemptions because of weather conditions if they meet strict criteria based on standards used by the Bureau of Meteorology.

“For example, service providers claiming a CSG exemption for heavy rainfall must now prove, using documentary evidence, that the rainfall exceeded the 10 year average recurrence interval – that is, an event that would occur, on average, only once in a decade.

“This measure will also encourage service providers to take reasonable measures to prevent or mitigate outages caused by routine weather events, further improving the services of consumers in areas prone to weather-related outages.”

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