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Vodafone told to shape up or face mega fines

Regulator short of patience

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Vodafone Australia is facing $AU250,000 fines from the ACMA if it does not continue to lift its game on network performance, customer care and privacy issues.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued directions to Vodafone and its Vodafone Networks subsidiary requiring them to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code).

The ACMA edict caps off another annus horribulus for the carrier which was beset by network infrastructure problems in 2010 and ongoing customer service and data breach crisis control issues during 2011.

An ACMA investigation found that both companies had failed to classify and analyse complaints as required by the TCP Code; failed to provide timely customer information about network performance issues in late 2010 and had poor systems in place for protecting the privacy of customers’ personal details prior to January 2011.

“These directions are intended to make sure Vodafone remains focussed on improving outcomes for its consumers by increasing the regulatory consequences of any further breach," said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

Chapman conceded that Vodafone has made positive changes over the course of this year but warned that “from this point on, if either Vodafone company fails to comply with the TCP Code, the ACMA can approach the Federal Court seeking civil penalties of up to $AU250,000.” ®

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