Thirty nine telco providers have been issued with formal warnings by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for failing to comply with the industry compliance scheme under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code).
Telcos providing services to consumers were required to lodge documents to the industry compliance body, Communications Compliance (CommCom), by 1 April 2014 attesting to compliance with the TCP Code.
On 21 July 2014, CommCom announced that 331 telcos had lodged the required documentation for 2014, representing a very material improvement on 225 lodgers in 2013. The ACMA has issued formal warnings to those providers who have failed to lodge documents for the first time.
Investigations are continuing into the non-lodgement of documents by a number of telco providers already the subject of previous ACMA enforcement action.
‘These formal warnings by the ACMA reflect how serious the ACMA is about fostering a culture of TCP Code compliance by industry players,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
‘It is again encouraging to see that the majority of active telcos have lodged documents with CommCom on time. However, the ACMA’s intention is to see all telcos, regardless of their size, taking the industry’s own compliance scheme seriously.’
For more information see backgrounder below or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media release 56/2014 - 16 September
Making communications and media work in Australia’s public interest | acma.gov.au
Q: What is CommCom? Why was it established?
A: CommCom is an independent body established under the TCP Code from 1 September 2012 to oversee a new Code Compliance Framework set out at Chapter 9. The framework requires telcos to promote code awareness, lodge annual compliance documents, prepare and maintain a Compliance Plan and, on the request of CommCom, prepare Compliance Achievement Plans and Compliance Monitoring Requests.
The intention of the Code Compliance Framework is to encourage industry to take responsibility for its own compliance with the Code consumer protection rules.
Q: What documents does a telco need to lodge with CommCom?
A: Each telco that provides services to consumers under the TCP Code must provide two documents to CommCom by 1 April each year.
The Customer Information Compliance Statement sets out where customers can access information required to be made publically available under the code. This information includes Critical Information Summaries, Financial Hardship and Complaint Handling Policies.
The Compliance Attestation is a document endorsed by the CEO or a senior manager of the telco, confirming that it complies with the TCP Code and has a Compliance Plan in place that meets Australian Standards. Large telcos must have this statement independently assessed.
Q: What is the ACMA’s approach to non-compliance with the CommCom requirements and the TCP Code?
A: The ACMA takes a staged approach to compliance. Formal warnings have been issued to those firms with no previous history of non-compliance. A number of other investigations are continuing.
Q: How has the ACMA been ensuring industry compliance with TCP Code?
Since the TCP code was registered in September 2012, the ACMA has conducted many targeted TCP Code compliance audits and investigations resulting in:
> 150 formal warnings
> 10 directions to comply
> 1 infringement notice.
On a very positive note, the effectiveness of the new rules, industry’s general high level of compliance and the ACMA’s graduated approach to non-compliance is evident in TIO complaint statistics. They show the number of TIO complaints per thousand services has dropped from 3.9 in 2011-12 to 3.1 in 2012-13 (a decrease of just over 20 per cent).