Thursday, 01 August 2019 00:48

Communications Alliance condemns ‘misleading sales practices’ by small number of telecommunications service providers Featured

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Communications Alliance condemns ‘misleading sales practices’ by small number of telecommunications service providers Image Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Communications Alliance, Australia’s peak body for the telecommunications industry, has condemned the behaviour of a small number of service providers found to be engaged in “misleading sales practices”.

The comments follow a report by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) which CA says noted that a provider had breached consumer trust.

“It is very disappointing when a provider breaches consumer trust, and the rules it is required to observe,” said John Stanton, CEO of telecommunications industry body Communications Alliance.

“We are working with Communications Compliance and the ACMA to provide education on supplier requirements across the sector, and will always work with industry members who are looking to improve.

“We were pleased to see that a provider highlighted in the TIO’s report had revised its practices.”

“However, unfortunately in such a large marketplace – according to the TIO’s 2018 annual report there were 1,600 providers – small and often transient players sometimes attempt to operate outside the rules.

“Providers like that are not welcome in our Industry. Communications Alliance members are working with the ACMA to act against such behaviour and prevent those providers from continuing to operate.”

Stanton said that “additionally, the strengthened Industry Code – the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code - comes into effect today, including vigorous new rules on selling practices, which will help the ACMA enforce against the practices raised in the TIO’s Spotlight.”

As reported by iTWire in early July, the telecommunications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), said that telco customers would now be better protected under new consumer protection rules it had just introduced.
The enhancement of protections came after the ACMA announced that it had revised and strengthened the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code which requires telcos to promote and sell their products in a fair and responsible manner.

The industry-developed Code also requires telcos to clearly explain key terms and conditions to enable consumers to make informed decisions and to assess a customer’s capacity to pay.

"We see evidence of customers being encouraged to sign up to multiple plans which do not meet th.eir needs, are excessive or beyond their financial capacity,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“The impact of this is serious, particularly for those in vulnerable circumstances, leading to financial hardship and denial of access to critical services.”

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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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