Vodafone has been seriously embarrassed by the leak of customer details, but there seems little prospect of more serious consequences for the company. That needs to change.
The Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) has called for the current self-regulatory telecoms consumer protection regime to be replace with a mandatory system that would require telcos to adhere to 'high level principles'; industry body, Comms Alliance has been quick to oppose the idea.
ACCAN has called for a whole range of mandatory measures to protect telecommunications consumers to replace the present code-based co-regulatory regime, which it says has proved to be woefully inadequate at protecting consumers.
The ACMA has kicked of a major enquiry into customer service in the telecoms industry with release of the enquiry's terms of reference, a consultation paper and call for "the broadest possible input on the problems telecommunications customers are experiencing with customer service and complaints-handling."
Communications Alliance has set up a steering group to review the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code that regulates the behaviour of service providers in billing, credit management, complaint handling, customer contracts and the information contained in advertising. Significantly industry and consumer representatives will have to reach consensus if changes are to be made.
Communications minister, senator Stephen Conroy, has promised to amend the Telecommunications Act to improve consumer protection.
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