25 September 2023

Telco audits keep ACMA busy

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has reported a sharp increase in its audit and compliance activity aimed at telecommunication companies (telcos).

The increase follows an investigation in August that found that not one of 41 telecommunications businesses was providing consumers with all the information required by the industry’s new Complaints-handling Standard.

ACMA said that in the July to September quarter it launched 59 new telco compliance investigations — 41 of which related to the new Standard.

It found that two telcos had no written complaints-handling processes available on their website; seven had substantial deficiencies in their written processes; and a range of telcos did not classify complaints or set out processes for classification.

Chair of ACMA, Nerida O’Loughlin said telco consumers needed easy access to information about how to make a complaint and how their telco would handle that complaint.

Ms O’Loughlin said they also needed to be confident that their problems would be dealt with promptly and effectively.

“While many providers moved swiftly to rectify the shortcomings identified by the ACMA’s audit, it is clear that not all customers are receiving the service required,” Ms O’Loughin said.

“We will now consider formal action against the telcos that continue to fail to comply.”

She said this was the first time ACMA had reported on telco compliance with new rules introduced to help consumers migrate to services delivered over the National Broadband Network (NBN).

She said the time critical nature of the NBN rollout meant that early and consistent industry compliance was essential.

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