The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has directed Hosted Telecommunications Pty Ltd to join the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) scheme and has also issued formal warnings to Telink Australia, Account Management Australia Pty Ltd and Protech Solutions WA Pty Ltd for failing to join the scheme.
ACMA investigations found that all four telcos contravened the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 by failing to join the scheme when required.
Hosted Telecommunications Pty Ltd was directed, as unlike the other telcos, it was not a member at the time the ACMA finalised its investigation. All four telcos are now members.
The TIO scheme is an independent dispute-resolution service for customers with an unresolved complaint about their phone or internet service.
By failing to join the scheme, the telcos denied their customers proper access to dispute-resolution avenues.
All eligible telcos in Australia have a legal obligation to join the TIO scheme and comply with decisions made by the TIO.
All four telcos were referred to the ACMA from the TIO for failing to join the scheme.
Telcos that fail to comply with their obligations under the TIO scheme can expect the ACMA to take action.
The ACMA is able to seek Federal Court penalties of up to $10 million for companies that fail to comply with decisions of the TIO, and up to $50,000 for each contravention by an individual.
The ACMA recently welcomed a Federal Court penalty in its case against Sydney-based telco Limni Enterprises Pty Ltd (Limni Enterprises), formerly known as Red Telecom Pty Ltd, for failing to comply with decisions of the TIO. The Court imposed penalties of $450,000 against Limni Enterprises and $115,125 against its sole director Nicholas Kontaxis.
The ACMA encourages people who are thinking of switching telcos to check if the new provider is a member of the TIO scheme so they have access to the services provided if needed.