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Action on telco consumer protections: October to December 2019

Key actions

We made the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2019.

We made the Telecommunications Service Provider (International Mobile Roaming) Determination 2019.

We registered the revised Mobile Premium Services Code.

We published a report on telco-managed complaints in 2018-19.

We finished 27 telco investigations and gave remedial directions to 5 telcos and issued 16 formal warnings.

Infringement notice

One provider paid a $12,600 for an infringement notice issued for breaching the Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints) Record-Keeping Rules 2018

Court proceedings

We began court proceedings against 1 provider and its director.

Compliance assessments

We completed 10 compliance assessments—6 related to compliance with the NBN consumer experience rules.

We consulted on proposed revisions to the NBN consumer experience rules.

Meeting

We held a meeting of the Consumer Consultative Forum.

Emergency Call Service Determination

We made the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2019 to help make the emergency call service, and the telecommunications networks it depends on, more reliable and resilient.

International Mobile Roaming Determination

Revised Mobile Premium Services Code

We registered the Mobile Premium Services Code to set new rules for third-party mobile content services that are directly billed to peoples’ mobile phone accounts.

Complaints-handling report

We published the Telecommunications complaints-handling 2018 to 2019 report, containing data about telco-managed complaints. The data includes details of different complaint types, the access technology associated with the customer’s services, and the time taken to resolve complaints by large to medium size telcos.

Compliance with the NBN consumer experience rules

We opened investigations into the compliance of 4 providers with the NBN Service Continuity Standard and NBN Service Migration Determination (the NBN Service Continuity rules).

These investigations will determine whether telcos followed rules requiring them to provide interim services to eligible customers whose telco services did not work after moving to the NBN, and to prepare detailed plans to fix NBN services that did not work for an extended time.

We also began an audit of the compliance of 5 providers with requirements under the Complaints Handling Standard to monitor and analyse complaints and address systemic issues.

During the quarter we finalised an investigation into a medium-sized telco’s compliance with the Complaints Record-Keeping Rules. The provider paid an infringement notice for failing to lodge a quarterly complaints report on time, as required under the rules.

We also finalised 7 compliance assessments, including assessments of compliance with the NBN Service Continuity rules (6) and NBN Consumer Information Standard (1).

Figure 1: Completed NBN consumer experience compliance activities 

Figure 1: Completed NBN consumer experience compliance activities

 

Completed investigations and enforcement actions

Table 1: NBN consumer experience investigation outcomes

Provider

Details

Provisions investigated

Enforcement outcome

Provisions of the Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints) Record-Keeping Rules 2018 and the Telecommunications Act 1997

Exetel Pty Ltd

Failure to lodge a complaints report on time.

  • Subsection 12(1) of the Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints) Record-Keeping Rules 2018—a reporting provider for a record-keeping period must give the ACMA a complaints report for a record-keeping period within 30 days after the end of the record-keeping period.
     

Infringement notice paid on 6 November 2019.

Failure to comply with record-keeping rules.

  • Section 530 of the Telecommunications Acta carriage service provider must comply with applicable record-keeping rules.
     

Other telco compliance activities

We began 2 investigations into telco compliance with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) scheme.

We also began 1 investigation into telco compliance with joining the TIO scheme.

We finished 17 investigations into telco compliance with accurately populating the Integrated Public Number Database.

We also finished 7 investigations into telco compliance with the TIO scheme and 1 investigation into telco compliance with joining the TIO scheme.

One further investigation was completed into telco compliance with the data usage notification requirements under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code.

We finished 4 compliance assessments, including assessments into the requirements of the Emergency Call Service Determination and the TCP Code.

Figure 2: Other completed compliance activities

Figure 2 shows an increase in other completed compliance activities

Finalised investigations and enforcement actions

Table 2: Other investigation outcomes

Provider*

Details

Provisions investigated

Enforcement outcome

Provisions of the Telecommunications Act and the Integrated Public Number Database Industry Code C555:2017 

Borwood Ltd Clubtelco Pty Ltd DIDWW Ireland Limited

Dodo Services Pty Ltd

MyRepublic Pty Ltd NetSIP Pty Ltd

TPC Consolidated Ltd

TruPhone Pty Ltd Twilio Australia Pty Ltd

Vaya Pty Ltd

 

Provision of accurate data to the IPND

  • Schedule 2, subclause 19(2) of the Telecommunications Act—requirement to provide information to Telstra, as the IPND Manager
  • Provision 4.2.1 of IPND Code— requirement to provide public number customer data to the IPND Manager.
  • Provision 4.2.25 of IPND Code—requirement to provide any updates to public number customer data to the IPND Manager.

Formal warnings issued for contravening the Telecommunications Act and the IPND Code issued on 18 December 2019.

Business Service Brokers Pty Ltd t/as TeleChoice,

Fuzenet Pty Ltd,

Kisa Pty Ltd

Swift Networks Group Limited

TravelSIM Australia Pty Ltd

 

Provision of accurate data to the IPND

  • Schedule 2, subclause 19(2) of the Telecommunications Act—requirement to provide information to Telstra, as the IPND Manager
  • Provision 4.2.1 of IPND Code— requirement to provide public number customer data to the IPND Manager.
  • Provision 4.2.25 of IPND Code—requirement to provide any updates to public number customer data to the IPND Manager.

Remedial directions issued to take action to comply with the Telecommunications Act and formal warnings issued for contravening the IPND Code on 18 December 2019.

Note: *2 telcos had no breach findings.

Provisions of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code C628 (2012, 2015 and 2019)

Telstra

Data usage notifications

  • Provision 6.5.2(j)(iii) of TCP Code 2012 and 2015—requirement to provide data usage notifications
  • Provision 6.5.6 of TCP Code 2019—appropriate delivery methods for data usage notifications.
     

Formal warning issued on 19 November 2019.

Provisions of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Telecommunications Act) and the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (TCPSS Act)

Red Telecom Pty Ltd (Red Telecom) and its director, Mr Nicholas Kontaxis

 

Requirement to comply with the TIO scheme.

  • Subsection 101(1) and clause 1(1) of Schedule 2 to the Telecommunications Act—failing to comply with the TIO scheme as required by section 132 of the TCPSS Act.
  • Subsection 101(2) of the Telecommunications Act (to sole director, Mr Nicholas Kontaxis)— aiding and abetting in the abovementioned contraventions under subsection 101(2) of the Telecommunications Act.
     

In December 2019, civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court commenced against Red Telecom and its sole director, Mr Nicholas Kontaxis.

Provision of TCPSS Act

One provider*

Requirement to join the TIO scheme.

  • Section 128—requirement to join the TIO scheme.

No breach finding made and no enforcement action taken.

 

* The ACMA does not generally publish the names of entities that have not been found in breach or where enforcement actions have not been finalised or published.

Rule-making activities

Consultation on NBN consumer experience rules

On 17 December 2019, we began a consultation on proposed revisions to the NBN consumer experience rules. Submissions closed on 31 January 2020.

Consumer Consultative Forum

On 25 October 2019, we held a meeting of the Consumer Consultative Forum (CCF). The CCF brings together key consumer, industry and government stakeholders to discuss current telco consumer issues impacting consumers.

The issues discussed included improving consumer education about 5G health concerns, financial hardship, addressing fraudulent mobile number porting, and missed appointment rebates for NBN service customers.

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