The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued 25 telco providers with formal warnings for failing to lodge documents with Communications Compliance (CommCom), as required under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code).
Chapter nine of the TCP Code requires telcos providing services to consumers to lodge documents confirming code compliance with CommCom by 1 April annually.
‘While this number of warnings may seem high, it actually reflects a trend of increasing compliance within the telecommunications industry, with the number of CommCom warnings down from 39 in 2014 and 95 in 2013,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
In May 2015, CommCom announced that 391 telcos had lodged the required documentation for 2015, compared to 331 lodgers in 2014 and 225 in 2013.
‘Each year the number of telcos doing the right thing is rising, so the message is getting through,’ Mr Chapman said. ‘However, the ACMA will continue to work with industry to improve TCP Code compliance and we’ll remain vigilant about targeting those companies that persist in not complying.’
The ACMA has issued formal warnings to those providers who have failed to lodge documents for the first time, and are considering further regulatory responses for other non-lodgers already subject to previous ACMA enforcement action.
Note: This media release was updated on 22 September 2015 to include another telecommunications provider who failed to lodge documents with CommCom. The updated list of those who have been issued with an ACMA formal warning can be found here.
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Media release 43/2015 - 10 September
CommCom is an independent body established under the TCP Code from 1 September 2012 to oversee the Compliance Framework set out at Chapter 9. The framework requires telcos to promote code awareness, lodge annual compliance documents, prepare and maintain a Compliance Plan and, on the request of CommCom, prepare Compliance Achievement Plans.
The Code Compliance Framework encourages industry to take responsibility for its own compliance with the Code’s consumer protection rules.
Each telco that provides services to consumers under the TCP Code must provide two documents to CommCom annually by 1 April:
1. A Customer Information Compliance Statement that sets out where customers can access information required to be made publically available under the code. This information includes Critical Information Summaries, Financial Hardship and Complaint Handling Policies.
2. A Compliance Attestation that is a document endorsed by the CEO or a senior manager, confirming that it complies with the TCP Code and has a Compliance Plan in place that meets Australian Standards. Large telcos must have this statement independently assessed.
The ACMA takes a staged approach for those providers who fail to lodge documents with CommCom. Formal warnings have been issued to those firms with no previous history of non-compliance. A number of other investigations are continuing.
Since the TCP code was registered in September 2012, the ACMA has conducted many targeted TCP Code compliance audits and investigations resulting in:
- 178 formal warnings
- 28 directions to comply
- 1 infringement notice