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Media release No. 46 - 22 June 2004
New rules to protect consumers from high bills
Measures designed to protect consumers using new premium mobile services from unexpected high bills have been outlined in a discussion paper released by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) today.
Under the proposed draft rules, mobile phone service providers would be required to inform customers of the financial risks of accessing services on 191, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197 and 199-prefixed numbers or services accessed through proprietary networks. Some examples of these services include competition entries, chat services, video clips and games.
"What we're proposing is that service providers tell their customers exactly what financial risks they're facing if they use these services," Acting ACA Chairman Dr Bob Horton said.
"If we want to stop unexpected high bills then it's a case of prevention being better than a cure."
In the discussion paper, the ACA is proposing that consumers be provided with the following information:
The development of the discussion paper and draft rules follows a recent direction from the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Daryl Williams.
The ACA will also report to the Minister within four months on action, such as credit management measures, that has been taken by industry to address unexpected high bills across all telecommunications services for consumers.
The discussion paper is on the ACA website.
The Australian Communications Authority is a government regulator of telecommunications and radiocommunications