The ACMA Names and Shames Eight Aussie Telcos for Breaching Consumer Protection Rules

The ACMA Names and Shames Eight Aussie Telcos for Breaching Consumer Protection Rules

The ACMA is cranky at eight telcos this morning, saying all eight of them failed to provide adequate safeguards that help customers to avoid service restrictions, suspensions, or disconnections.

Essentially, the ACMA found all of them breached consumer protection rules, as is their requirement to adhere to under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code).

The telcos are Exetel, Foxtel, MyRepublic, Optus, Southern Phone Company, SpinTel, Telstra’s Belong, and Vodafone.

Sooooo basically everyone.

According to a press release from the ACMA, its investigations into the aforementioned telcos involved reviewing the notifications provided to up to 20 customers prior to having their services disconnected.

Each of these telcos (excluding Vodafone) was found to have failed to provide some customers with five business days’ notice before restricting, suspending, or disconnecting their services. That five days is required under the TCP Code.

Foxtel, Southern Phone Company, and SpinTel also failed to provide customers with information about their financial hardship policy in bill reminder notices.

Additionally, Belong, Foxtel, MyRepublic, Southern Phone Company, SpinTel, and Vodafone all failed to provide required information in restriction, suspension, or disconnection notices.

“With the current cost of living pressures, I expect all telcos to take the utmost care with customers who are struggling with bills,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said. “Telcos need to lift their game to help their customers or face further regulation.”

As a result of all of that, the ACMA has issued formal warnings to Belong, Optus, and MyRepublic. Exetel, Foxtel, Southern Phone Company, SpinTel, and Vodafone, meanwhile, have been directed to comply with the TCP Code – a slap on the wrist. But, while there was no penalty extended to the eight telcos, O’Laughlin said any further non-compliance could lead to “significant consequences”, with potential penalties of up to $250,000 for failing to comply with an ACMA direction.