25 September 2023

ACMA pulls telcos into line

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has introduced new rules requiring telecommunications companies to deal with customer complaints more effectively, quickly and in good faith.

Chair of ACMA, Nerida O’Loughlin (pictured) said this was the first tranche of new rules to improve consumers’ experience in migrating to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

“Both our industry information-gathering exercise and our survey of residential households demonstrate that telco complaints-handling practices need to improve,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Consumers deserve to have their complaints dealt with quickly and effectively by their telco provider.”

She said that in terms of NBN services, they should not experience the buck-passing in the handling of consumer complaints that had been seen to date.

She said under the new rules telcos would have to institute and follow a written complaints-handling process that met minimum standards; they must acknowledge all consumer complaints within two working days; and use their best efforts to resolve complaints on first contact or at least within 15 working days.

“All entities in the NBN supply chain must work together to seamlessly resolve consumer complaints in a timely and effective manner, and larger providers must provide complaints data to the ACMA to allow it to monitor industry complaints-handling performance and identify new trends driving complaints,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“The new rules take effect on 1 July and will be immediately and directly enforceable by the ACMA.”

She said ACMA would be announcing additional measures to improve the customer migration experience in the coming weeks.

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