In the final report, the ACMA says it is "formally inviting the industry to incorporate the following changes to its Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) Code by February 2012:
- Clearer pricing information in advertisements allowing consumers to more easily compare services;
- Improved and more consistent pre-sale information about plans;
- Developing meaningful performance metrics that allow consumers to compare providers;
- Tools for consumers to monitor usage and expenditure;
- Better complaints-handling by providers.
ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, said: "We have closely consulted on these outcomes with consumers and industry and the overwhelming response has been that improvements are both urgent and necessary. The industry should address these concerns as soon as possible so the industry is now formally on notice to reflect these outcomes in the new TCP Code."
And we warned: "If the industry doesn't develop a code that addresses the ACMA's concerns, the ACMA will mandate changes through direct regulation."
The ACMA has issued the industry representative body, Communications Alliance with formal notice under section 125 of the Telecommunications Act saying it believes the current code is deficient and giving it five months to deliver a code (the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code) that addresses the issues identified in the final report. If the ACMA considers the code is not adequate, it will move direct to imposing a standard.
The principal author of the report, Clare O'Reilly, said the current legislation did not allow the ACMA to impose standards without first giving the industry the opportunity to develop a code addressing its concerns. "We have asked for legislative amendment that would enable us to make a standard without having to go through this process." She said.