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ACCAN's work informs public debate about consumer issues in the communications landscape.  Welcome to our collection of the latest news and current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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Peak consumer group ACCAN says annual report data released by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) today shows the number of customers who have gone to the TIO about an unexpectedly high bill has doubled over the past year.

Peak consumer body ACCAN says consumers trying to avoid high global roaming fees by buying a cheap travel SIM card at home or local SIM at their overseas destination are being hampered by the high cost of unlocking handsets.

Handset locking allows service providers to lock a mobile phone handset so it can only be used on their network. This is also known as network locking or device locking and is common practice in Australia. In order for consumers to use another SIM card while travelling, they must first unlock their handset.  

Australian blindness and consumer organisations have today launched a national campaign to promote the importance of audio description currently being trialled on ABC TV, and appeal to Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy and ABC Managing Director Mark Scott to make the service permanent.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) today launched a new guide for consumers that explains their rights in relation to mobile phone, landline, internet and pay TV services.

The guide, Making the Right Call, summarises in plain language what rights customers have under the newly registered Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code and other laws, regulations and industry codes.

“This guide is essential for phone and internet customers in Australia, because it explains your rights in simple terms, including what to look for when signing up for services. It also has tips on what you can expect once you’ve signed up for a service and what you should do if something goes wrong,” said ACCAN Chief Executive Officer Teresa Corbin.

Peak telecommunications consumer body ACCAN says its new research confirms the majority of Australians now see their mobile phone as their number one communications device (58%), while fixed line phones dwindle at 29%. The research highlighted a generational gap, with younger people vastly preferring mobiles (77%), while more than half of people aged 55 and over saying their fixed line is their main service.

The first annual ACCAN National Consumer Perceptions Survey, which is being presented at the ACCAN 2012 National Conference being held in Sydney today (Weds), also revealed that many Australians are reluctant to switch providers, with almost a third of respondents saying they had never switched telecommunications providers. Almost half had been with their provider for five years or more. 

Peak communications consumer body ACCAN has welcomed the announcement by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy that consumers will soon receive SMS alerts about global roaming costs when they travel overseas.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) says telecommunications customers should expect to see improvements in customer service, complaint handling and a reduction in the number of customers experiencing “bill shock” if the new Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) Code is effectively enforced.

Disability advocates are today celebrating the passage of legislation in both houses of Parliament that means television viewers will soon enjoy better closed captioning on television.

Closed captions refer to the on-screen text that describes the speech and other audio during television broadcasts.

Peak consumer communications group ACCAN today announced the six new consumer research, education and advocacy projects awarded funding through the 2012 Round of the $250,000 ACCAN Grants Scheme.