While ACMA has received over 120 submissions to its Reconnecting the Customer inquiry, it believes that response from the industry falls short of what has been expected.ACMA Chairman’s Chris Chapman said, “There has been a healthy response from members of the public and consumer representatives. But frankly the response from industry falls short of what we had expected, given the early positive signals from industry chief executives.”
“Too many of the submissions were little more than reiterations of the current self-regulatory framework and cautioned against any regulatory intervention. I was surprised the telcos did not come up with more constructive solutions to issues they admit are major problems,” added Chapman.
Telstra said in its submission that while it believes that customer service is a key differentiator in a competitive market, it “does not believe the current challenges impacting customer service and complaint handling warrant regulatory intervention.”
“While acknowledging that further improvement is required, Telstra believes it has taken significant steps during the past 18 months to identify key areas of customer dissatisfaction, and taken action to improve the standard of customer service and compliant handling,” said the company.
VHA said that transition to new services and technologies may lead to increased complaints. For example, the company has a measure in place to manage the incidence of bill shock and prevent it from reoccurring. However, the introduction of new technologies may increase in increase number ‘complaints’. VHA has received a number of complaints during the iPhone 4 launch and feels that customers were using the complaints process as a ‘means to upgrade their mobile for free to the iPhone 4.’
“VHA considers that these anomalous peak complaint times include some calls which are not genuine complaints. This fact should be taken into consideration when reviewing the statistics.”
Finally, Optus’s submission said that while all is not perfect in the telecommunications industry, it believes that the “existing regulatory regime is sufficiently flexible to address areas of concern; that appropriate consumer safeguards are already in place; that the competition-driven regulatory framework is undoubtedly delivering enormous benefits to Australian consumers and the broader economy; and that service providers are actively working on delivering improved customer care to their customers.”