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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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The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) says while it is appropriate that Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has launched an investigation into the latest Telstra privacy breach, customers with concerns should consider making their own complaint.

ACCAN says customers with concerns should contact Telstra via its hotline on 133 933. If they want to make a complaint, it’s important they use the word “complaint” when speaking to the customer service representative.

If customers are unsatisfied with Telstra’s response they can make a complaint as an individual to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

The telco industry had more than 197,000 new complaints from its customers lodged with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in the last financial year, representing a 17.8% increase on the previous year’s result and making this the highest number of complaints on record.

The top three issues for consumers were again customer service, complaint handling, and billing and payments.

“The telco industry has scored another ‘F’ this year for customer service and complaint handling for failing to address its customers' problems in a timely manner,” ACCAN Chief Executive Officer Teresa Corbin said today.

ACCAN says it welcomes the release of a draft revised Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) Code today, giving stakeholders a month to provide feedback as to whether the new rules will improve consumer protections for Australian residential and small business customers.

Peak communications consumer advocacy body ACCAN is celebrating a major step forward in its campaign for fair calls following an announcement today that the telco regulator, the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) will put an end to the high cost of 1800 and 13 calls from mobiles.

The ACMA has plans to alter what’s known as the “Numbering Plan” so that calls from mobile phones to 1800 numbers will be free and 13 numbers will be a low fixed charge as they are from land lines and pay phones. At present these calls are charged rates of up to $1.78 per minute from mobiles, with the business or organisation at the other end also paying telcos for the cost of the calls.

New research has found consumers often feel so confused and overloaded with information when it comes to buying telco products they have to resort to a range of coping strategies to navigate the highly complex market.

Dr Paul Harrison will present the full findings and recommendations stemming from the report, Seeking Straight Answers: Consumer Decision-Making in Telecommunications, in his keynote address at the 2011 ACCAN National Conference being held in Sydney today and tomorrow.

ACCAN says submissions to the Australian Communications & Media Authority’s (ACMA) draft report reveal the telco industry is in a state of denial about the threat of regulation if it fails to fix its customer service and complaint handling problems.

Peak consumer communications group ACCAN says prices for services on the NBN released yesterday by retail service provider Internode are comparable to current offers but affordability remains a key concern for consumers.

Peak consumer body ACCAN say the results of a study released today shed a stark light on the challenges involved in connecting up remote indigenous communities, where very few residents have been online and many have never used a computer.

Consumer advocacy group ACCAN says telecommunication providers need to stop charging mobile customers expensive per-minute rates for 13, 1300, 1800 calls to essential services, government agencies and businesses.

ACCAN welcomes today’s announcement that the Government is providing funding to the telcos to make Lifeline a free call from any phone but says there are thousands of vital 13 and 1800 numbers that many Australians are finding too expensive to call from mobiles.

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