The guidance has been brought in after the telecommunications industry reviewed sales, credit assessment and management practices in light of the recent recommendations of the Rank the Telco report by the Financial & Consumer Rights Council, Victoria.
And according to the CA, the guidance note evidences the commitment to delivering fair outcomes and identifies a number of best practices currently in place.
The Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code — referenced in the guidance released on Thursday — is the industry code of conduct that sets out what suppliers must do in relation to sales, billing, and credit and debt management. All Carriage Service Providers who supply telecommunications products to customers in Australia are required to observe and comply with the code, which is registered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Recently, CA varied the TCP Code to reference assistance for victims of domestic or family, and is working to develop further guidance in this area.
And, the industry has also recently worked with Financial Counsellors Australia and the TIO to update the guide for CSPs supporting customers dealing with financial hardship – assisting and responding to customers in financial hardship principles and practices.
According to the CA, while the industry performs hundreds of thousands credit applications each month for new customers, “with the vast majority processed quickly and efficiently to allow customers to purchase and enjoy their services and stay connected”, there are many other factors that can later affect the customers’ ability to fulfil their overall financial commitments'.
“In these cases, consumers may wish to access their provider’s financial hardship team to discuss appropriate options. Industry is working with Financial Counsellors Australia to create a contact list of hardship teams to facilitate this access.”