The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has formally warned V4 Telecom Pty Ltd after an investigation found some customers could not contact the telco to complain after a service outage.
V4 Telecom also failed to tell customers who made contact what it was doing to restore their services and did not keep complete records of the complaints.
As a result, V4 Telecom has contravened multiple provisions of the Complaints Handling Industry Standard between July and December 2018. The Standard was introduced by the ACMA to improve consumers’ experience in dealing with their telco.
‘Consumers have a right to expect that complaints to their telco provider will be heard, acknowledged and answered,’ said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin. ‘It’s unacceptable for customer complaints not to be dealt with promptly.’
Under the Standard telcos are required to meet minimum standards and timeframes when managing complaints.
The ACMA is monitoring telcos’ customer complaints handling as a compliance priority in 2019-2020. This is the ACMA’s 42nd investigation into complaints handling in 12 months, resulting in four telcos receiving remedial directions and 28 receiving formal warnings.
‘Proper handling of customer complaints should be a high priority for telcos. It’s apparent however, that some telcos need to lift their game. Telcos are on notice that the ACMA will deal firmly with continued non-compliance with the Standard,’ said Ms O’Loughlin.
The ACMA may issue infringement notices or commence civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court for non-compliance with the Standard.
The ACMA has also directed V4 Telecom to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code) after the telco moved more than 30 customers to another wholesale network without notifying them.
If the ACMA finds further breaches of the complaints provisions by V4 Telecom, stronger enforcement options may be applied. Telcos face penalties of up to $250,000 for failing to comply with ACMA directions to comply with the TCP Code.
If consumers feel their complaint is not being heard, they can escalate it to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman by calling 1800 062 058.
For more information, please contact ACMA Media on 0438 375 776 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media release 26/2019 - 18 July