The Customer Service Guarantee Standard (CSG Standard) establishes performance standards that telephone service providers must meet or exceed for appointments and the connection and repair of standard telephone services (and certain enhanced call-handling features).
If a provider fails to meet a performance standard, the customer may be eligible for compensation from their provider. Full details of performance requirements and compensation levels are contained in the ACMA's CSG Standard fact sheet.
Under the CSG Standard, telephone service providers may propose to a customer—either in writing or orally—that they (wholly or partly) waive their rights under the CSG Standard. The waiver provisions are intended to allow customers to take advantage of—and to encourage providers to offer-—services that may not be offered if CSG protections applied.
To ensure consistency with legislative changes made to the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 in December 2010, the CSG waiver provisions were amended by the ACMA and commenced on 1 October 2011.
The amendments require industry to provide information about the CSG and the consequences of waiving CSG rights, as well as protections to help consumers make an informed choice to waive their CSG rights and protections. They also simplify existing CSG waiver provisions and promote industry best practice for obtaining informed customer consent.
The provider cannot propose that a customer waive their rights, either wholly or partly, under the CSG Standard if the service is provided in fulfilment of the Universal Service Obligation.
Providers are able to propose that customers waive their rights under the CSG Standard by completing a waiver in writing or orally. The requirements for waiver proposals (to be valid under the CSG Standard) are detailed below.
Waivers in writing
Under section 31 of the CSG Standard, a provider may propose in writing to a customer that they wholly or partly waive their rights under the CSG Standard.
For a waiver in writing, a provider must give a customer a stand-alone waiver form that has a prominent title containing the word 'waiver'. This form can be provided electronically or displayed on a website as part of an online sign-up process. The waiver form must provide the following information:
- a description of the service to which the waiver applies (for example, a home telephone service)
- the date the waiver takes effect
- the name and contact details of the provider making the waiver proposal
- a statement that the customer is under no obligation to consent to the waiver (a provider may choose to not supply a customer with a service if the customer refuses to agree to a waiver proposal)
- an explanation of the protections and rights afforded to the customer under the CSG Standard
- a statement summarising the consequences of the customer waiving his or her rights under the CSG Standard. This statement must include an explanation of the CSG performance standards that will and will not apply if the waiver proposal is accepted, and what rights to compensation under the CSG Standard will be forgone and retained if the waiver proposal is accepted.
Under section 31 of the CSG Standard, providers are also able to propose to a customer (through an oral waiver proposal) that they wholly or partly waive their rights under the CSG Standard. For example, this may occur when a customer contacts a provider over the phone to request a home telephone service.
Information to be provided at the time of consent for oral waivers
Before a customer consents to an oral waiver proposal, a provider must inform the customer of the:
- protections and rights afforded under the CSG Standard
- consequences of the customer waiving their rights under the CSG Standard. This statement must include an explanation of the CSG performance standards that will and will not apply if the waiver proposal is accepted and what rights to compensation under the CSG Standard will be forgone and retained if the waiver proposal is accepted
- requirement for the provider to give the customer a written statement with information regarding the waiver proposal once the customer has consented to the oral waiver
- right of the customer to withdraw their consent to the waiver proposal within five working days of consenting to the waiver (cooling-off period).
If a customer consents to an oral waiver proposal to waive some or all of their protections and rights under the CSG Standard, they are able to withdraw their consent to the waiver proposal within five working days of providing their verbal consent. This is known as a 'cooling-off period'.
Queries or complaints about a waiver proposal
Customers with a query or complaint about a waiver proposal by a provider-made either in writing or orally-or who believe that the provider has not complied with the requirements of the CSG Standard in making a waiver proposal should discuss this with the provider in the first instance. If customers are unable to resolve their query or complaint with their provider, or are unable to contact the provider, they can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) online or by calling 1800 062 058.
For queries on any of the information contained in this fact sheet, please contact the ACMA's Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115 or email@example.com.
Please note: This document is intended as a guide only and should not be relied on as legal advice or regarded as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases..