Communications behavioural economics research | ACMA

Communications behavioural economics research

This research, by Dr Patrick Xavier, Adjunct Professor of Economics and Finance, Curtin University Business School, examined how much behavioural economics can explain the dissatisfaction resulting in consumer complaints and how insights from behavioural economics can help in the development of more effective regulation.

Key findings and policy recommendations

  • Special attention to the information needs of vulnerable customers would likely benefit other consumers as well.

  • Facilitate ‘switching’ to strengthen incentives for service providers to improve customer service. Regulators could consider requiring that service providers ensure a simple, cheap and quick transfer of consumers who choose to switch provider, harnessing competitive pressure to help improve customer service.

  • Consider use of ‘cooling-off’ periods during which customers can break contracts without penalty.

  • Consider use of ‘opt-in’ defaults where the consumer has to express a desire for data roaming service, or to extend a contract that would otherwise terminate, rather than an ‘opt-out’ default.

  • Mandate standards for advertising, marketing or promotions, including restrictions on use of terminology; ‘headline’ broadband speeds.

  • Mitigate risk of ‘bill shock’ by mandating expenditure management tools.

  • Enhance Telecommunications Customer Protections Code provisions. For this to work, the code will have to be significantly strengthened, signatories widened and compliance ensured by robust enforcement.

  • Mandate a customer service charter. A charter would help to focus consumers on their rights and Charter would focus service providers on agreed customer service standards.

  • Install a performance reporting framework which includes customer service metrics.

Download report

The full report is available in Word (1.3 MB).

Last updated: 08 May 2017