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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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Woman with billACCAN welcomes the ACCC’s announcement today that Telstra has refunded $9.3 million to 72,000 customers who were misled about third-party billing charges under its “Premium Direct Billing’ (PDB) service. However, the consumer advocacy group argues that further consumer safeguards are needed to prevent bill shock and consumer harm from occurring in the first instance.


“We are pleased to hear that 72,000 Telstra mobile customers will be refunded for content such as games and ringtones that they unknowingly purchased. We have seen that unexpected charges continue to be an issue for Australian mobile consumers and contribute to mobile bill shock,” said Teresa Corbin, ACCAN CEO.

Midas Touch ImageSmartphone technology now essentially allows us to carry a computer in our pocket, but what happens to all of the data that is collected while we go about our normal daily lives? A new report by Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) examines the implications of the advancements in smartphone biometric data capturing capabilities for Australian consumers.

The use of biometrics in smartphones such as finger print scans and facial recognition have been promoted as a simpler and more secure alternative to traditional security options such as PINs or passwords. While these more modern alternatives offer greater convenience, ACCAN’s new report ‘Midas Touch: Consumer Implications of the Use of Smartphone Biometric Data Capturing Capabilities’ argues consumers must be aware that they are not entirely secure.

Teresa Corbin, ACCAN CEO, and Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications and the ArtsThe Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) welcomes the reappointment of Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield to the position of Minister for Communications and the Arts in Prime Minister Morrison’s newly formed Cabinet.

“As the peak body responsible for representing all Australian telecommunications consumers, ACCAN looks forward to continuing to engage with Minister Fifield and his office to ensure better outcomes for consumers and small businesses,” said Teresa Corbin, ACCAN CEO.

Peak communications consumer group, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), has released a report, called Can You Hear Me?, on the customer service provided by 10 telco providers.

Major findings are that consumers are unimpressed by the amount of time they spend getting a resolution to a telco issue. It takes an average of 13 days, but for those with harder to resolve issues averages blow out to 2 months. The results confirm customer experiences of having to contact providers multiple times about an issue, repeatedly explaining the problem, and disappointing levels of first contact resolution. It also shows that escalating an issue to a formal complaint can be difficult.

ACCAN welcomes the release today of the public comment draft Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code, but says it doesn’t go far enough in providing adequate consumer protections for today’s telecommunications landscape.

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code has been released for public comment by peak industry body Communications Alliance. Submissions are due by August 10.

The Code sets out requirements for Retail Service Providers (RSPs) relating to sales, customer service, contracts, billing, credit and debt management, financial hardship, transfers between providers and the compliance framework. It is a key component in the consumer protection framework for the telecommunications industry.

The consumer movement has expressed strong concerns at Government proposals to reduce the remit of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

‘One of the vital elements in the consumer protection regime is the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman scheme. It is fundamentally important to have a robust, well-resourced, independent way for consumers to resolve complaints, to help them sort out the many problems they experience with telecommunications providers’ said ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin.

‘The TIO has been delivering well for consumers, so it would be a backward step if the Government’s review resulted in changes that diminished its role and made complaints more difficult to resolve from a consumer perspective’.

ACCAN welcomes the ACMA’s release of the Service Continuity and Consumer Information Standards.

‘These are important safeguards that will help make the move to NBN-based services easier for consumers, and ACCAN has been calling for such measures for some time’ said Teresa Corbin, ACCAN CEO. ‘Many consumers have contacted us about a range of frustrating experiences as they try to navigate their way between their retail telco and NBN. We welcome these measures, which we believe will go some way to reducing these problems’

The Rural Regional and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Regional Communications Minister, Senator Bridget McKenzie that there will be a fourth round of the Mobile Blackspots Program.

“Despite initial disappointment that further funding was not available in this year’s Federal Budget, we are delighted that the Government has made this important announcement today," National Farmers' Federation (NFF) President Fiona Simson said.

ACCAN welcomes the ACMA’s publication today of the first tranche of new rules to improve consumers’ experience in switching to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The new rules are: Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard 2018 and, Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints) Record Keeping Rules 2018.

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