ACMA Ups Telco Compliance Activities

Telcos were subject to increased audit and compliance activities by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) from July to September 2018.

In this quarter, the ACMA launched 59 new telco compliance investigations – 41 of which relate to a new Complaints-handling Standard. The Standard, which came into effect in July 2018, requires telcos to clearly set out minimum complaints-handling requirements and processes.

The investigations follow an audit of 41 telcos that found that, as at August 2018, none were providing consumers with all the information required by the Standard. Instead, the audit indicated to the ACMA that:

  • Two telcos had no written complaints-handling processes available on their website.
  • Seven telcos had substantial deficiencies in their written processes.
  • A range of telcos did not to classify complaints or set out processes for classification.

“Telco consumers need easy access to information about how to make a complaint and how their telco will handle that complaint. They also need to be confident that their problems will be dealt with promptly and effectively,” said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

“While many providers moved swiftly to rectify the shortcomings identified by the ACMA’s audit, it is clear that not all customers are receiving the service required by the Standard. We will now consider formal action against the telcos that continue to fail to comply,” said Ms O’Loughlin.

“This is the first time the ACMA has reported on telco compliance with new rules we introduced to help consumers migrate to services delivered over the National Broadband Network (NBN).

“The time critical nature of the NBN rollout means that early and consistent industry compliance is essential,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

Details of the audit is contained in the ACMA’s latest quarterly report, Action on telco safeguards. The quarterly report also identifies 15 investigations finalised in the period, with outcomes ranging from a remedial direction given to Telstra about its priority assistance licence condition, to a $12,600 infringement notice paid by Lycamobile for failing to lodge annual compliance returns with the industry compliance body, Communications Compliance.



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