Home Technology Regulation CA says new industry guidance improves telecoms credit management

CA says new industry guidance improves telecoms credit management

The Communications Alliance, Australia’s peak body for the telecoms industry, has published new credit guidance rules which it says underlines industry’s commitment to deliver fair credit management outcomes for all telecommunications consumers.

The guidance has been brought in after the telecommunications industry reviewed sales, credit assessment and management practices in light of the recent recommendations of the Rank the Telco report by the Financial & Consumer Rights Council, Victoria.

And according to the CA, the guidance note evidences the commitment to delivering fair outcomes and identifies a number of best practices currently in place.

The Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code — referenced in the guidance released on Thursday — is the industry code of conduct that sets out what suppliers must do in relation to sales, billing, and credit and debt management. All Carriage Service Providers who supply telecommunications products to customers in Australia are required to observe and comply with the code, which is registered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The CA says the latest TIO complaints data, related to credit management, show a recent positive trend with respect to credit management complaints and industry will continue to work to improve customer experience in this and all areas:

Recently, CA varied the TCP Code to reference assistance for victims of domestic or family, and is working to develop further guidance in this area.

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And, the industry has also recently worked with Financial Counsellors Australia and the TIO to update the guide for CSPs supporting customers dealing with financial hardship – assisting and responding to customers in financial hardship principles and practices.

According to the CA, while the industry performs hundreds of thousands credit applications each month for new customers, “with the vast majority processed quickly and efficiently to allow customers to purchase and enjoy their services and stay connected”, there are many other factors that can later affect the customers’ ability to fulfil their overall financial commitments'.

“In these cases, consumers may wish to access their provider’s financial hardship team to discuss appropriate options. Industry is working with Financial Counsellors Australia to create a contact list of hardship teams to facilitate this access.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).