14% of Australian Consumers Had Difficulty Paying a Phone Bill in the Past Year
Fourteen percent of Australian phone and internet consumers experienced difficulty paying a bill in the 12 months to May 2012, according to new research released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today.
Conducted by Roy Morgan Research, the study involved 2,400 consumers who were interviewed about their personal telecommunications services, the incidence and causes of difficulty paying bills and their experiences in these circumstances.
The research found that of those consumers who had difficulty paying
- 47% indicated bill shock - an unexpectedly high bill - as one of the main reasons
- 16% nominated financial difficulties - such as poor budgeting and low income - as one of the main reasons and
- 14% nominated an unexpected event as one of the main reasons.
- While the majority of consumers (64%) who contacted their telco following bill shock or difficulty paying were satisfied with the outcome, most (69%) were not offered advice about avoiding such situations in the future.
"The research supports the ACMA's insistence on effective spend management tools for telecommunications consumers following our public enquiry", said ACMA Chairman, Mr Chris Chapman today,
'It also supports an early focus by the ACMA on compliance with the financial hardship provisions of the new Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code."
Under the TCP Code, telcos must have a financial hardship policy that is easy for consumers to find and access. Moreover, for the first time, the TCP Code requires telcos to include information about their financial hardship policies on reminder bills sent to consumers and to have clear ways for consumers to seek relief under those policies.