In 2014, the ACMA will start reviewing whether providers are complying with clause 8.3 of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP code).
Clause 8.3 requires providers to have processes, procedures or systems in place to identify and fix recurring problems and issues.
The ACMA has recently come across several cases where providers appear to have failed to identify and therefore address systemic problems. In some cases, it appears the provider has focused on resolving complaints at first point of contact—for example, by giving the consumer a credit rather than investigating and identifying any underlying causes.
The ACMA commends providers for resolving complaints at first point of contact. Indeed, this action is required by clause 8.2.1(ii) of the TCP code. The ACMA also acknowledges that where a provider receives high volumes of enquires and complaints, a credit may be an efficient response to a billing issue rather than an investigation. However, resolving a complaint at first point of contact does not exempt a provider from complying with clause 8.3.
The TCP code requires providers to analyse their complaints at least every three months. This is to identify any systemic problems, irrespective of whether the individual complaints may have been resolved at first point of contact.
Any providers who are not currently analysing consumer complaints and addressing systemic issues are on notice.