Tuesday, 17 December 2019 13:12

Effective consumer safeguards need to ensure ‘timely’ connections, repairs for telco consumers: TIO Featured

By
Judi Jones, Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Judi Jones, Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman says effective consumer safeguards are important to ensure timely connection and repairs for telecommunications consumers, as it begins its consideration of the Federal Government’s review of safeguards for teleco services.

Ombudsman Judi Jones notes that the review of safeguards for telco services recommended a range of reforms designed so consumer telco service issues can be resolved quickly and effectively.

The report just released by the Government recommends that:

  • wholesale level regulation of connections, repairs, and appointment keeping timeframes to underpin whole of industry performance on connecting and repairing individual services
  • retail level requirements for clear consumer information around any service commitments from retailers together with transparency of performance
  • further consideration of well targeted and sustainable arrangements to maximise connectivity for medically vulnerable consumers, and
  • addressing existing reliability safeguards of limited and declining relevance.

“We are considering the recommendations in the report and their impact on residential consumers and small businesses”, Jones said.

“The telecommunications landscape today is vastly different to the one that gave rise to the existing service reliability rules embodied in the Customer Service Guarantee. It is important to ensure new consumer safeguards provide adequate incentives for timely connection and repair and incentivise service improvement.

“As the independent dispute resolution service for telecommunications complaints, our priority is to ensure consumers have access to reliable phone and internet services, and timely repair of fault and connection issues.

“We will continue working with the phone and internet service providers, Government, regulators and consumer advocates on the implementation of these recommendations and continue to report on the consumer experience,” Jones concluded.

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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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