The telecommunications consumer interest lobby group, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, welcomed the Telstra refund decision, but says further consumer safeguards are needed to “prevent harm from occurring in the first instance”.
ACCAN has now put forward a number of key recommendations it wants to see implemented by the telecommunications industry, including that telcos must to be responsible for handling and resolving complaints from customers about third party charges.
Other recommendations by ACCAN include:
- Consumers must activate third-party charges via an opt-in arrangement before a telco can bill for them;
- Consumers should be able to apply a spend limit for third-party charges to their account; and
- Billing for third-party charges must cease if the consumer has sent a STOP request to the third-party service.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said Telstra customers who believe unauthorised PDB charges were applied to their accounts or prepaid service are encouraged to contact Telstra directly on 1800 007 763 (post-paid customers), 1800 007 413 (pre-paid customers) or 1800 007 830 (business customers).
“We’d encourage current or former Telstra customers to contact Telstra for a refund if they believe there were unauthorised charges on their account because of the PDB service," Sims said.
“The ACCC is also conducting a detailed investigation into the third-party billing services of other carriers and further enforcement action may well follow.”