ACMA Gets Tough On Telcos

The ACMA has had enough of wayward Telcos and is now instigating a formal inquiry due to the huge amount of customer complaints.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has bitten the bullet and decided an formal inquiry is the only way to draw a line in the sand with the huge number of complaints being received by the telecommunications industry ombudsman.

Announcing the inquiry today, ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said, ‘Many would share the ACMA’s concern about whether the current arrangements which underpin telecommunications consumer protection are really effective in dealing with the issues that concern consumers most.

‘The trend-line growth and sheer quantum of complaints about complaint handling and customer service —up to 900 every working day—reflects poorly on the entire industry. Whether this is evidence of a failing regulatory system or just a perception of that failure, I now believe this issue has to be confronted directly and urgently otherwise we will be talking about these same issues for years to come.

“A vital part of this inquiry will be determining how consumer expectations of customer service might be satisfied in the NBN-delivered broadband world,” Chapman said. “As part of the inquiry, I will personally brief CEO’s of the larger service providers (representing 90 per cent of the TIO complaints) and ask for their support. As the learnings emerge from the inquiry, I will seek their collective agreement on enforceable strategies for lowering the number of complaints to the industry ombudsman about complaint handing.”