Home Technology Regulation ACMA issues stern warning to iTalkBB over second consumer protections breach

ACMA issues stern warning to iTalkBB over second consumer protections breach

Telecommunications services provider iTalkBB Australia has been warned to take compliance seriously by the telecommunications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, over its second breach in less than three years of the consumer protections code.

The direction follows an ACMA investigation that found iTalkBB had breached direct debit, complaints-handling and record-keeping rules in the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code 2015.

“Customers should have confidence that their telco will abide by rules designed to protect consumers,’ said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

“This direction sends a strong message to iTalkBB Australia that it is time it took code compliance far more seriously to deliver better outcomes for its customers.”

Pointing out that this is the second time in under three years the ACMA has taken enforcement action against iTalkBB Australia for breaches of the Code, O’Loughlin stressed that the ACMA could commence proceedings in the Federal Court seeking a pecuniary penalty from a provider that breaches a formal direction.

In this latest breach, iTalkBB Australia failed to give customers 10 working days to check their bill on 43 occasions and did not obtain correct direct debit authorisations from two customers. It also failed to keep records for three complainants and did not document or make available its complaints-handling process.

The TCP rules require that telcos offering direct debit as a payment facility must obtain customer authorisation and comply with that authorisation, and customers must be given at least 10 working days to check their bill before the associated direct debit transaction takes place.

And, telcos must also document and make available their complaints-handling processes.

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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).