The fact sheet is designed to overcome some of the major concerns identified by ACIF as VoIP and IP telephony services expand from the enterprise market into households and home offices.
"One of the major problems is that consumers often don't understand the differences between VoIP and the telephone services they have traditionally used," said Anne Hurley, chief executive officer, ACIF. "So they expect to enjoy the same voice quality and all of the functions of a standard telephone service.
"The other side of the coin is that some of the new breed of VoIP providers are not aware of the telecommunications regulatory safeguards that have been developed over the years to protect Australian consumers.
"Therefore ACIF has developed this fact sheet to help providers of consumer VoIP and IP telephony services appreciate their obligations and responsibilities to their customers, including the need to supply all relevant information about their services."
The ACIF fact sheet explains that service providers must tell customers about:
Any matter that affects the service or its quality;
Any special requirements to support the service (eg hardware or software);
Any limitations to the service (eg access to 000 emergency services);
Every aspect of the charging arrangements;
Consumer protection (eg rights to complain, regulatory safeguards etc).
The fact sheet also gives an overview of the telecommunications regulatory environment and the various bodies responsible for developing and enforcing the rules.
The fact sheet can be downloaded from the ACIF website at www.acif.org.au or copies obtained from ACIF by calling 02-9959 9111.