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Three Australian Telcos Warned Over Breaches of Consumer Code

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority has directed (Gazel Telecomo Utel Networks) two telcos to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (the TCP Code) and formally warned a third following three ACMA investigations into unauthorised customer transfers.

The ACMA found that Gazal Telecom Australia, Telcomo and UTel Networks each contravened provisions of the TCP Code about the promotion of customer transfers and obtaining informed consent to the transfers of fixed line services.

A direction was given to UTel Networks to comply with the entire TCP Code. A direction was also given to Gazal Telecom Australia to comply with aspects of the code which relate to sales practices and changing suppliers.

Telcomo changed its transfer application and contract processes to address the issues prior to the release of the ACMA's preliminary investigation findings. As a consequence, it was only issued with a formal warning.

"Telecommunications customers have the right to choose their own telephone company and to change companies when it suits them, subject to existing contracts," said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

"When customers are transferred without giving proper authority, this choice is not only taken away from them but can cause considerable inconvenience and sometimes excess costs."

"As poor customer transfer practices remain a significant source of complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), the ACMA has begun a multi-provider audit of code compliance with transfer provisions," Mr Chapman added.

Failure to comply with the direction may result in the ACMA taking Federal Court action seeking the imposition of a pecuniary penalty or the ACMA issuing an infringement notice for $10,200 per contravention.

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Tags: acma  Australia