The review of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code has been underway since August 2017. The Code sets out rules for how retail service providers must deal with their customers. It covers sales, customer service, contracts, billing, credit and debt management, financial hardship, and transfers between providers.

The Code is reviewed periodically to ensure it reflects current market offers, trends and consumer needs. ACCAN is a part of the Working Committee (comprised of industry, consumer, government and regulatory representatives) for the review and has consulted widely with its members throughout this process.

A draft TCP Code was recently released for public comment. ACCAN’s submission to this consultation focused on the need to improve consumer protection by strengthening the requirements on providers in a range of key areas. In particular ACCAN would like to see better practices for:

  • Billing: customers should not be charged to receive a paper bill or use a payment method other than direct debit. The Code should also set out stronger requirements for third party charges;

  • Customer service: improvements should include setting benchmarks for wait times, reducing time it takes to get a resolution, and improving record keeping;

  • Sales: selling practices and incentives must align with customer needs and be driven by matching customers to suitable products;

  • Credit assessment: a credit assessment must include at a minimum checking a customer’s proof of income and housing costs (rent, mortgage payments);

  • Financial hardship: information about financial hardship policies must be made more accessible and the Code should identify minimum requirements for inclusion in a financial hardship policy;

  • Accessibility: the Code should require providers to make available information about products that are suitable for consumers with disability.


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