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The Australian Communication Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) welcomes today’s announcement of an inquiry into customer service by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) at the CommsDay Summit in Sydney.

“Consumers have been suffering from shoddy customer service for too long” according to Allan Asher, CEO of ACCAN. “We are pleased that finally the regulator is getting serious about telcos abusing their customers”.

Last year’s “connect.resolve” campaign by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) focussed attention on complaint handling and customer service. Despite intensive scrutiny, the industry still recorded a 130 per cent increase in complaints related to complaint handling, and a 118 per cent increase in complaints about customer service to the TIO.

According to ACCAN, “these aren’t complex issues, they are simple and should be easy to fix. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that telecommunications companies just do not care about consumers”.

Earlier today, Minister Stephen Conroy also announced plans to strengthen consumer protection in self-regulation. The Minister will amend the Telecommunications Act (1997), giving the Minister authority to direct the ACMA to develop an Industry Standard that would be directly enforceable by the ACMA.

“Industry Standards provide much greater protection and could revolutionise the effectiveness of consumer regulation in this industry. This is another step forward in fixing up the telecommunications industry”.

“ACCAN will work with the ACMA and other stakeholders who want to make sure consumers get a better deal”.

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