Telco Customer Service To Be Investigated

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority will conduct a formal inquiry into the telecommunications industry following the high volume of consumer complaints.The ACMA has revealed that up to 900 complaints about complaint handling and customer service are being lodged every working day, which reflects poorly on the entire industry.

ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman said, “Many would share the ACMA’s concern about whether the current arrangements which underpin telecommunications consumer protection are really effective in dealing with the issues that concern consumers most.”

“As part of the inquiry, I will personally brief CEO’s of the larger service providers (representing 90 per cent of the TIO complaints) and ask for their support. As the learnings emerge from the inquiry, I will seek their collective agreement on enforceable strategies for lowering the number of complaints to the industry ombudsman about complaint handing,” added Chapman.

Mr Chapman also foreshadowed other regulators with roles in the telecommunications sector joining the ACMA in a regulatory forum.

“As regulators, we need to turn the mirror on our structures and roles. I do not believe the current regulatory ‘alphabet soup’ of ACMAs, TIOs, ACCCs, DBCDEs, CAs and TISSCs (along with the state Offices of Fair Trading) is leading to the best solution for some of the bigger problems.”

“In the short-term, I will be seeking to work with my colleagues at the ACCC and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and with consumer groups, led by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, to identify emerging issues in telecommunications and develop appropriate regulatory responses. This is best done in collaboration,” concluded Chapman.

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