All the rules can now be enforced by the ACMA and allow it to begin an audit to look at taking court action for injunctions and civil penalties up to the aforementioned sum.
New rules for handling complaints have been in effect since 1 July. The rule that took effect on Friday concerns the NBN Co's consumer information standard that ensures consumers are given all the necessary information to make informed choices about the NBN service and plan that is right for them.
The ACMA said in a statement that over the last six months it drafted rules to:
- "give consumers the information they need to choose an NBN plan;
- "confirm that their new NBN service is working;
- "provide an interim service to the consumer or reconnect their old service if there are delays getting the new NBN service working;
- "move swiftly to resolve complaints, drawing in other companies in the NBN service supply chain where necessary to stop ‘buck-passing’ of complaints between providers and NBN Co."
"With the new rules in place, the ACMA will now turn its attention to industry compliance.
"We have already put telcos on notice in our Compliance and enforcement statement of approach that early and consistent compliance with the new rules is essential.
"Our preliminary findings indicate that telcos still have a long way to go to comply with these new complaints-handling rules.
"Formal investigations into a number of providers are ongoing and we will publish a report on these once finalised.
"We remain absolutely focused on the implementation of safeguards and protections for consumers during their move to services delivered over the NBN."
Commenting on the NBN rules, Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Judi Jones said in a statement: "Residential consumers and small businesses want migration from their old phone or Internet service to a service delivered over the NBN to go well. The ACMA’s rules give clear guidance to telcos about its expectations under the new rules, and provides a strong framework to resolve problems if these arise.
“We will take the ACMA’s new rules into account when dealing with complaints.”
The statement added that residential consumers or small businesses should first aim to resolve their complaint with their phone or Internet provider. But if the complaint remained unresolved, they were urged to contact the TIO at www.tio.com.au or to call 1800 062 058.