Friday, 12 April 2019 11:31

CA seeks feedback on stronger mobile premium services code

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Industry lobby group the Communications Alliance wants changes to the telecoms code which will strengthen consumer protections for telecommunications users.

A revised Mobile Premium Services Code for the telecommunications sector designed to further strengthen protections in the area of mobile premium services and premium direct billing has just been released by the Communications Alliance.

The CA, which is seeking public comment on the code, wants to see stronger protection under the code for mobile premium services and premium direct-billing services that consumers can purchase from third parties and that are billed through their telecoms provider.

Key changes to the MPS Code include:

  • the inclusion of premium direct billing services in all rules relating to advertising, information provision and supply of the service, complaint handling and mechanisms to unsubscribe and opt-out of such services;
  • a new default monthly spend limit of $50 for all new customers to assist consumers with their spend management and to avoid the possibility of ‘bill shock’, while still allowing for a limited number of one-off purchases and charitable giving via SMS. Existing and new customers continue to have the ability to set their own spend limits for such purchases;
  • an obligation for telecoms providers that include third party charges on a customer’s bill to address all enquiries and resolve all complaints they receive relating to those charges, directly with their customer; and
  • strengthened obligations to ensure consumers are informed on how to bar premium services.

Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton said: “the 2019 revision of the MPS Code is yet another step taken by our industry to strengthen consumer safeguards and to improve the experience for consumers who want to take advantage of the large variety of services that the communications industry has to offer.”

Following the public comment period — which end on 15 May — a MPS Code Working Committee will review all comments and revise the draft as appropriate.

Subsequently, Communications Alliance will submit the revised Code to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for consideration for registration.

In the meantime. the current MPS Code remains in force until the revised Code is registered by the ACMA.

To view the draft revised Code and information on submitting comments click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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