Consumers have been able to more easily access information about their telecommunications service in the last year, following the introduction of a compulsory Critical Information Summary (CIS) at the point of sale.
A CIS sets out information about products, plans and services so that a consumer can compare plans for both pre-paid and post-paid services. It must include:
- what is included and excluded in the service
- pricing—including the minimum and maximum monthly charges, early termination fees and, for Included Value Plans, the cost of a two-minute local mobile call, SMS and one megabyte of data
- where usage information can be obtained
- contact points for customer service and complaints-handling.
It’s a requirement under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code 2012 (TCP Code) for industry to make these two-page documents available, with compliance significantly improving over the past 12 months.
In March 2014, the ACMA assessed the CIS compliance of the 46 providers with the most Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) complaints about point-of-sale information, as well as complaints under a new category, ‘summary of offer’. The results compare favourably to those in 2013, when the CIS compliance of the 50 providers with the most complaints to the TIO about point-of-sale information was assessed:
| Number of providers assessed
| Number of offers assessed
CIS with some content or formatting issues
CIS immediately compliant
In response to the 2014 findings, we have commenced five preliminary enquiries.
As a separate but related project, we’re also examining how adequately providers make a CIS accessible to customers who sign up for services over the phone. We’ll release a report on this project soon.
An example of a CIS can be found here.