The ACMA

Reconnecting the customer

Telecommunications consumer protection code

Telco consumer information streamlined

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority has today registered a ‘refreshed’ version of the telecommunications consumer protections code that simplifies how providers inform consumers about products and services.

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code C628:2015 (the TCP Code) now provides greater flexibility to industry in its information provision and in part removes some unnecessary duplication with other laws, such as the Australian Consumer Law and the Privacy Act.

‘The updated TCP Code reinforces the ACMA’s commitment to working with key stakeholders to ensure regulation remains relevant and effective, while giving industry more flexibility in how it provides the necessary information to consumers (its customers),’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

‘Importantly the changes maintain the consumer safeguards put in place in 2012 following the ACMA’s Reconnecting the Customer (RTC) public inquiry,’ Mr Chapman added.

‘The retention of key consumer safeguards was essential. The previous TCP Code has driven a 36 per cent fall in complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) over the last three years, while we recently released economic analysis highlighting that the RTC reforms have generated estimated savings for consumers of $545 million per year.

‘The TCP Code is an example of the key role industry codes can play in safeguarding telecommunications consumers and driving better industry behaviour. The ACMA acknowledges the positive, consumer-focused perspective that Communications Alliance (CA) brought to this code review process.’

Registration of the TCP Code follows an extensive review of customer information obligations by industry and other stakeholders in 2014.

For a detailed breakdown of the telecommunications sector and confirmation that Australians are engaging more deeply online with multiple devices, performing a greater number of activities and going online more often, see the ACMA's Communications report 2014–15, released Wednesday 2 December.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 62/2015 - 3 December

Backgrounder

In 2010, the ACMA launched the RTC public inquiry in response to unacceptable levels of consumer complaints and customer care.

In 2011, the final RTC report arising from the inquiry made six key recommendations for change:

1. stronger advertising rules, including a requirement to advertise the cost of a standard (two minute) mobile call to assist consumers to understand and compare different telco offers

2. better product explanations at the point of sale to assist consumers to better understand and compare telco offers

3. mandatory expenditure and use management tools directed at preventing bill shock

4. tighter complaints-handling

5. the development of a customer care reporting framework

6. changes to aspects of the TIO scheme.

In September 2012, the ACMA registered a Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code which had adopted the thrust of most of the inquiry’s recommendations.

The RTC report also noted a subsequent opportunity for industry members to review the disclosure obligations that had accumulated over time and to work with the ACMA to streamline the amount and type of information required to be provided.

Accordingly, in February 2014, the ACMA and CA established the Customer Information Committee (CIC)—made up of industry representatives, the (then) Department of Communications and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network—to review current information obligations.

Following this review, CA submitted a revised Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code to the ACMA for registration last month. The ACMA registered the C628:2015 Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code, effective today. 

Last updated: 03 December 2015

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