C628:2019 Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code
Full code available here: C628:2019
The TCP Code is a code of conduct for the Telecommunications Industry in Australia. It provides community safeguards in the areas of sales, service and contracts, billing, credit and debt management and changing suppliers. It also sets out a framework of code compliance and monitoring. It applies to all Carriage Service Providers in Australia, and is enforceable by the ACMA.
The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code – information for consumers brochure provides an overview of the TCP Code and the protections it provides.
C628:2019 commenced on 1 August 2019. Prior to that date, Suppliers were obliged to comply with the previous version of the Code (C628:2015 (Incorporating Variation 1/2018).
Please Note: Vulnerability GuidanceSection 3.4.1 of the TCP Code requires carriers and carriage service providers (CSPs) to comply with the ACCC vulnerability guidance document “Don’t take Advantage of Disadvantage”. This guide was updated in November 2021, when the ACCC published Consumer vulnerability: A business guide to the Australian Consumer Law | ACCC.
Carriers and CSPs should familiarise themselves with the new guidance. However, until the necessary updates to the Code to reflect the new guidance are complete, Communications Alliance considers “Don’t take Advantage of Disadvantage” to remain relevant for the purposes of the TCP Code.
All telcos who provide Telecommunications Services to Consumers (as defined in the TCP Code) have a range of compliance obligations, including registration and attestation.
You must register with Communications Alliance’s TCP Code Register, and keep that information up to date.
You must also lodge an annual Compliance Attestation with Communications Compliance.
How do I register with Communications Alliance?
Details of this obligation are in 10.1.1 b) of C628:2019 Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code. To register:
- Download the form here.
- Make sure the form is signed by an authorised person, then email it to email@example.com or fax it to +612 9954 6136.
The TCP Code requires that you register within one month after you first acquire a Customer who is a Consumer, and that you notify Communications Alliance within one month of changes to your registration information.
Please use the registration form for updates as well.
Registration with the TCP Code Register is independent of your obligation to lodge an annual TCP Code Compliance Attestation with the independent compliance monitoring body, Communications Compliance.
Lodgement of the Attestation is facilitated via the Communications Compliance CSP Portal.
ACMA Complaints-Handling Rules
Complaints Handling rules were previously included in the TCP Code, but as of 1 July 2018 are addressed by the ACMA’s Complaints Handling Standard and Record Keeping Rules. You can find more information on the ACMA’s website.
As of Code commencement (1 August 2019), all Complaints must be dealt with under the ACMA’s new Consumer Complaints Handling Standard.
Certain suppliers are also required to comply with the ACMA’s Complaints Record Keeping Rules.
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) Memberhip
Under Sections 128 and 132 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Services Standards) Act 1999, all Carriers and eligible Carriage Service Providers have a legal obligation to join and comply with the TIO scheme.
More information is available on the TIO’s website.
Related Communications Alliance documents
The Code references a range of other obligations and resources for providers, including some published by Communications Alliance. For ease of access, information on some of those are provided here:
Assisting Customers Experiencing Domestic and Family Violence
G660:2018 Assisting Customers Experiencing Domestic and Family Violence.
This Guideline provides education and guidance to providers on how to assist customers experiencing domestic and family violence.
Authorised Representatives and Advocates
IGN 017 Communications Alliance published this IGN in July 2019 to provide further information on the relevant clauses in the TCP Code (Clauses 3.5 and 3.6, TCP Code C628:2019), to streamline the appointment of Authorised Representatives and Advocates while continuing to protect consumers from fraud.
IGN 013 Sales Practices and Credit and Debt Management
This IGN was published in October 2017 to illustrate a range of good practices for CSPs to consider and apply as appropriate. It has not yet been updated to reflect the newest version of the Code, so while it may provide some helpful insight, we recommend Suppliers contact Communications Compliance for updated guidance.
Customer Information Obligations Framework
The Customer Information Provisions Policy Framework was developed in 2014. It provided context for the consideration of customer information requirements in place at that time; that is, to:
- enable an informed consideration of whether an issue is already dealt with via existing rules or not (i.e. ensure no duplication/overlap) and whether additional information is needed or not, and
- apply a filter or categorisation tool to determine the level of criticality of the new information, and therefore how it should be handled (pushed to customers or made available, is it required to be provided at a particular point in time, etc).
Other relevant documents
Suppliers can find links to all Communications Alliance Guidelines, Codes, and Industry Guidance Notes referenced in the Code on our Publications page.
The Code was revised by a Communications Alliance working committee, with representatives from industry, consumers, government, and regulators, and was registered by the ACMA on 1 July 2019.
The revisions include a range of increased consumer protections, including in selling practices, credit assessment, financial hardship, and assistance for vulnerable consumers, in addition to revisions for clarity and updating provisions to accurately reflect the marketplace.
Communications Alliance has provided the following documents to assist Suppliers in their compliance efforts with the new Code:
- Tracked Changes version: This version of the Code has tracked changes for all substantive revisions (noting that significant restructuring and editing for clarity are not tracked, for ease of reading).
- Summary of amendments: This provides a list of all substantive amendments, but must not be used as a substitute for reading the Code.
- Additionally, Communications Compliance has provided Chapter Guidance Notes on their CSP Portal.