INDUSTRY RECOMMENDS IMPROVED COMPLAINT HANDLING RULES

Sydney, 24 April 2018 - Communications Alliance has proposed a set of improvements to proposed new regulatory rules on the handling of consumer complaints about telecommunications services.

The industry proposals on the new rules – which have been drafted by the industry regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in response to a Direction from the Federal Government – are designed to focus resources on resolving complaints for customers by reducing unnecessary additional cost and prescription.

Industry has publicly supported the efforts of the Minister for Communications and the Arts to improve the customer experience in the telco sector.

After a five-year period of falling complaint volumes, the recent increases in complaint numbers across a range of product areas have been very disappointing for customers, service providers and regulators alike.

In its submission to the ACMA, Industry welcomed the ACMA plan to change the current Chapter 8 of the Industry Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code to a Standard.

“Industry developed these rules, and we welcome the ACMA taking steps to increase the level of industry compliance,” said Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton.

“However, the new Record Keeping Rules (RKRs) proposed by the ACMA will not provide meaningful comparative information for consumers, will be extremely costly to implement, and will not, in our view, contribute to the improvement of the consumer experience – neither for services supplied using the NBN, nor for other services.

“Worse, the proposed RKRs will lead to providers diverting customer service resources away from addressing complaints, with no clear benefit to consumers.

“We have suggested, as an alternative, expanding the existing Complaints in Context report to provide consumers with comparable and unbiased data on complaints, without the huge additional cost of the RKRs – a cost that will ultimately be borne by consumers,” said Stanton.

ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body  in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the  communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet  service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

Its vision is to  provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead  it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and  services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of  consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about  Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.

Media information contact:
Sefiani
Kurt Graham kgraham@sefiani.com.au
0431 478 558