New complaints-handling rules | ACMA

New complaints-handling rules

Reporting obligations—access the portal and instructions

The ACMA has put in place new rules to give consumers confidence that their complaints will be effectively managed by carriage service providers (CSPs) if problems arise with an NBN service. The rules are set out in the Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard 2018 and the Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints) Record-Keeping Rules 2018.

These new complaints rules are effective from 1 July 2018.

The new complaints-handling rules have been designed to improve the experience of consumers in how their complaints will be managed by CSPs.

Complaints-handling Standard

Why was the Standard created? 

Industry rules on complaints handling for CSPs have been in place under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (the TCP Code) for some time. However, our NBN consumer experience research indicated that the existing rules were not meeting community expectations during the transition to the NBN. One of the key problems revealed by the research was a lack of accountability, with complaints being ‘handballed’ between parties in the NBN supply chain, and extended complaint resolution times.

The research also revealed that almost one in three consumers who connected to the NBN made a complaint to their current or previous CSP over the 12 months prior to the research. For the second half of 2017, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) also reported handling an increasing number of escalated complaints.

What does the Standard do?

The new Standard will oblige:

  • CSPs to:

    • have and follow a written complaints handling process that meets minimum standards

    • acknowledge all consumer complaints within two working days

    • use their best efforts to resolve complaints on first contact; and

    • otherwise, resolve complaints within 15 working days.

  • all entities in the NBN supply chain to work together to seamlessly resolve consumer complaints in a timely and effective manner.

Record-keeping Rules (RKRs)

What do the new RKRs do?

The new RKRs will oblige retail CSPs with 30,000 or more residential and small to medium-size business services in operation, to provide complaints data to the ACMA, to allow it to monitor industry complaints-handling performance and to identify new trends driving complaints.

 To comply with these obligations, retail CSPs must keep a record of the:

  • number of services in operation (in total and by service type) being supplied by them

  • number of complaints received by them in total in a record-keeping period and according to type of service

  • number of complaints referred to a provider by the TIO

  • average number of days taken to resolve a non-TIO referred complaint

  • number of days it taken to resolve at least 80 per cent of non-TIO referred complaints resolved by the provider during the record-keeping period

  • top three non-TIO referred complaint types by volume.

Qualifying CSPs are required to report complaints data in line with the record-keeping requirements identified above to the ACMA on a quarterly basis.

How do retail carriage service providers report to the ACMA?

To help providers complete their reporting requirements, the ACMA has created a user-friendly, purpose-built reporting portal.

What are the benefits of the reporting portal?

The reporting portal streamlines the data-reporting process, improves data reliability and provides a secure environment to exchange information. The reporting portal also aims to reduce unnecessary interactions and communications between the ACMA and providers.

When is the reporting deadline?

Retail carriage service providers with more than 30,000 services in operation at the end of the reporting period are required to report. Reporting providers will need an AUSkey to access the reporting portal, and a permission token issued by the ACMA.

First quarter submissions are due by 30 October 2018. Subsequent reports are due 30 days after the end of the quarter.

What is AUSkey?

AUSkey is a secure login system administered by the Australian Business Register (ABR) that identifies you, or a representative of your business, when using participating government online services.

What are ACMA permission tokens?

In addition to an AUSkey, you will need an ACMA-issued ‘permission token’ to access the reporting portal. If you have not been issued an ACMA permission token, please email with your contact details and we will provide you with a token within two working days.

Are there user instructions?

Yes. The ACMA has produced user instructions as well as an internal-use reference copy of the reporting portal, which providers can use to familiarise themselves with the portal and distribute internally to assist with collation of the data from different line areas, if required. 

User instructions—industry telecommunications complaints reporting Portal

Internal-use reference copy

Once I have my AUSkey and ACMA-issued permission token, where do I log in to the portal to make a submission?

Access the portal by opening the following page in your browser:

Can I make a test submission?

Yes, a test form is also available in the portal that can be used by providers to test the process and system compatibility. Test submission data is identified as test data in the ACMA system and will not be confused with official submissions. 

If further assistance is required, please contact

Last updated: 22 February 2019