ACMA taking action against eleven operators over consumer protection failures

7 Nov 2019

Action is being taken against eleven telecoms providers for failing to comply with consumer protection rules, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced. In a press release regarding the matter, the regulator specifically noted that M2 Commander has been issued with a formal warning for transferring a consumer’s service from another telco without their consent. It said this transfer followed an unsolicited phone call to the consumer from an M2 Commander sales agent. According to ACMA chairperson Nerida O’Loughlin, the breaches fall under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code, and the executive was cited as saying: ‘The case of transferring a consumer’s service without their consent is particularly troubling … At no point did the consumer consent to having their service transferred. This transfer should simply not have occurred.’

Meanwhile, in separate investigations a further ten telcos were found to have breached the TCP Code by failing to lodge annual compliance statements with independent monitoring group, Communications Compliance. The operators were named as: CNS Group Australia, Exetel, Novel Telecom, Real Sim, Red Broadband, Simply NBN, Telco4U, Trikon, Uniti Wireless and Voiteck. With the ACMA having now officially directed these providers to submit annual compliance statements to show they are meeting their obligations, they risk facing further action such as fines or court proceedings should they fail to do so.

Since July 2018, the ACMA has issued 14 directions and seven formal warnings to telcos for failing to comply with the TCP Code, and following the latest developments Ms O’Loughlin said: ‘We take breaches of the TCP Code very seriously. When telcos are failing their own customers it’s not good enough … These actions serve as a message to the wider industry that the ACMA will pursue failures to comply with consumer protection rules.’