ACMA agrees to register the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code
On 11 July 2012, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) agreed to register the new Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code (TCP). Registration takes effect on 1 September 2012 with phased implementation over 12 months.
The TCP is intended to:
- align the obligations of telecommunications providers under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the TCP;
- apply to all of the telecommunications sector in Australia rather than a few key signatory participants;
- provide a standardised régime across the telecommunications sector;
- form the first step in coordinating the industry in preparation for the rollout of the National Broadband Network and the expected legislative overhaul in relation to converged technologies; and
- include community safeguards which were found to be lacking in ACMA’s 2011 public inquiry into the sector, with many of ACMA’s recommendations from its 2011 report (Reconnecting the Customer) being incorporated into the revised TCP.
ACMA believes that the benefits will apply to both industry participants and consumers alike.
Industry participants will benefit from alignment with the ACL and the TCP’s plain language, meaning that it will be easier to interpret, understand rights and implement obligations.
Consumers should benefit from a range of enhanced requirements in the TCP regarding advertising, billing, expenditure management tools, financial hardship arrangements, transfers between telco providers, streamlined complaints handling and compliance. A new independent body, Communications Compliance, will be created to monitor the performance of telco providers in complying with the TCP.
If you have any questions, please contact Swaab Attorneys.