ACMA gives telcos five months to clean up act
You will or we will: choice
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has given telecommunications providers a five deadline to improve customer services as a result of the 12 month investigation into the industry’s consumer code of practice.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said that improvements are “both urgent and necessary.”
The report revealed that customers were frustrated by confusing plans and pricing, experiencing "bill shock" and suffering from poor customer service from their telco providers. It also found that the current Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code did not adequately protect customers.
The report proposes five substantive changes to make buying and using a mobile phone or internet service much simpler. These include: clearer pricing information in advertisements to allow for price comparison; improved and more consistent pre-sale information about plans; development of meaningful performance metrics; tools for consumers to monitor usage and expenditure; and better complaints-handling by providers.
“If the industry doesn’t develop a code that addresses the ACMA’s concerns, the ACMA will mandate changes through direct regulation,” Chapman warned.
The ACMA has invited industry to incorporate the changes to its Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) Code by February 2012.
“The industry should address these concerns as soon as possible so the industry is now formally on notice to reflect these outcomes in the new TCP Code,” Chapman added. ®
About bloody time
I actually work for an Optus dealer (that is, a shop that sells Optus, not an Optus shop), and I find the plans confusing!
One thing that pisses me off (and all the telcos do it) is the "cap" plans where they say they include a certain value of call credit (usually measured in the hundreds of dollars). The trick being of course that they charge you about $1 a minute.
So I say it's about bloody time they force the telcos into making it easier to compare things. The included value for starters should be measured in minutes of talk time, not arbitrary and meaningless dollar amounts.
About bloody time!
If I wrote down verbatim many of my shocking experiences with these telcos, especially Telstra, you simply wouldn't believe me.
Anyway, here's some very brief highly-sanitized samples (I've dozens more):
-- Thousands of dollars 'stolen' through bad billing, it's just too difficult to recover the errors, which incidentally, always favours the telco.
-- 2 or 3 hours on-hold is commonplace.
-- 17 hours on the phone with Telstra over one single fault. The problem, as is so often the case with marathon sagas such as this, the problem was never resolved by Telstra. Right, I eventually solved it myself.
-- There were many other instances too although not quite as long: 7, 12 and 13 hours for example.
-- Being transferred over 15 times an a single instance is not uncommon. If it's nearing the end of the day, you'll often be transferred to a dead line which just rings out. This gets rid of you without actually cutting you off.
-- None of the above conveys the sheer intensity of the arguments with call centers. If any of you've heard that infamous British Telecom recording of the bloke who was totally fed up with BT and lost his cool then you'll get some idea of my conversation.
-- DIY : Telcos have ceased to have real level of maintenance staff and call centers don't have the potion
...And this is just for starters.