NBN migration: complaints-handling rules
Consultation closes: 16 April 2018
Outcome of this consultation
The ACMA has developed new complaints-handling rules to better protect telecommunications consumers. These rules are the first step in a program to improve the consumer experience in moving to, and using, the National Broadband Network (the new network).
The ACMA is seeking public comment on the new complaints-handling rules, which consist of:
- The Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard 2018 (Complaints-handling Standard)
The Complaints-handling Standard will require all carriage service providers (CSPs) providing telecommunications services to consumers and small businesses to comply with rules specifying how complaints must be managed, including time frames for response and resolution. The ACMA proposes to use complaints-handling obligations in Chapter 8 of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code 2015 (TCP Code) as the basis for the Standard. Changes will provide additional consumer certainty, support better cooperation across the supply chain and improve the enforceability of the existing arrangements. These provisions will ensure upstream providers such as wholesalers, other intermediaries and NBN Co provide reasonable assistance to CSPs to resolve customer complaints.
- Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints) Record-Keeping Rules (RKRs)
The RKRs will require CSPs to report complaints data to the ACMA on a quarterly basis. Proposed data will be drawn from the records that CSPs are required to keep in accordance with complaints-handling requirements and existing industry practice, such as the Complaints in Context reporting scheme. The RKRs will enable the ACMA to monitor complaint levels and assess whole-of-industry and individual providers’ level of responsiveness to, and resolution of, complaints and service issues. We intend to publish this data on our website on a quarterly basis, helping consumers to make informed choices about providers, encouraging better complaints-handling by providers, and enabling the ACMA to more effectively monitor complaint trends and levels.
The program will also include the development of three additional legislative instruments on service continuity, line speed-testing and the provision of information to consumers about migrating to and using the network. The ACMA expects to consult publically on these additional rules in April.
Opportunity to provide feedback
The ACMA invites general comments on the issues set out in the consultation paper. We also welcome responses to the following specific matters.
- Does the draft Standard properly protect telecommunications consumers who make a complaint to their provider?
- Are there any additional measures that should be incorporated into the Standard? Please provide additional data and/or evidence to support position.
- Where we have proposed a new time frame for an obligation currently existing under the TCP Code (see page 3 of the consultation paper), are those time frames appropriate? If not, why not?
- Part 6 of the Standard (reasonable assistance) sets out new obligations on carriers and wholesale CSPs to help retail CSPs resolve consumer complaints. Will the obligations in Part 6 be effective in helping retail CSPs to resolve consumer complaints that involve other entities in the supply chain?
- Are there any elements of the draft Standard that are inconsistent with community expectations?
- Are there any elements of the draft Standard that cannot be reasonably implemented or complied with for technical, operational or other reasons? For example, what are feasible time frames for the Standard to take effect, noting the three-month limit specified by the Ministerial Direction and the fact the Standard largely reflects the obligations in Chapter 8 of the TCP Code. Please provide detail.
- Does the proposal for the RKRs to apply to providers with 30,000 and above consumer services in operation mean that adequate complaints information will be available to consumers and industry?
- Are there any elements of the draft RKRs that cannot be reasonably implemented or complied with for technical, operational or other reasons? Please provide detail.
- Are there any impediments for providers in meeting the level of detail proposed in the draft RKRs? For example, what are feasible time frames for the RKRs to take effect, noting the three-month limit specified by the Minister’s Direction. Please provide detail.
- We propose that CSPs report their top three most prevalent complaint categories to the ACMA. Are the proposed complaint types appropriate to enable categorisation of consumer complaints? If not, what additional or alternative categories would you suggest?
- Are there any additional measures that you would recommend including in the RKRs? If so, why?