The Australian Communications and Media Authority has found that telco SoleNet Pty Ltd (SoleNet) breached the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (the Code) and has directed the company in future to comply with the Code.
The breaches related to former customers of Sure Telecom Pty Ltd transferred to SoleNet.
The investigation found that after Sure Telecom ceased trading in September 2014, transfers from the company were made to SoleNet. Sure Telecom did not advise its customers of the transfer or seek their consent prior to the transfer.
Where customers move from one provider to another due to organisational restructure or the sale of a business, the TCP Code requires that either:
- the losing provider advise customers of the change of provider; or
- the gaining provider seek the consent of each customer before the transfer occurred.
The ACMA will closely monitor SoleNet’s compliance with this direction.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please see the Backgrounder below or contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, on firstname.lastname@example.org
Media release 25/2015 - 26 May
The ACMA began its investigation following complaints to the TIO from (former) Sure Telecom customers who had begun to receive unexpected invoices from a company called SoleNet.
The investigation examined the experiences of six former Sure Telecom customers as well as information provided by SoleNet. The investigation concluded that Sure Telecom did not advise its customers of an impending transfer to SoleNet. Accordingly, as required by Chapter 7 of the TCP Code, SoleNet was obliged to:
- obtain consent to the transfers (clauses 7.2 and 7.3)
- provide information about the transfers (clause 7.4)
- keep records about the transfers (clause 7.8)
In the period examined (between 4 September 2014 and 3 October 2014), the ACMA investigation found that SoleNet breached these clauses on six occasions.
Where the ACMA finds a breach of the TCP Code, it can:
- agree with the telecommunications provider on steps it will take to remedy the breach or improve compliance
- give a formal warning
- give a direction to comply with the code.
It cannot ‘fine’ the telecommunications provider at that stage. However, if a telecommunications provider who has been given a direction breaches that direction (for example, by contravening the TCP Code again), the ACMA can issue an infringement notice or commence proceedings in the Federal Court seeking a pecuniary penalty.
Since the TCP Code was registered in September 2012, the ACMA has:
- issued 152 formal warnings
- given 26 directions to comply
- given one infringement notice for contravening a direction to comply.