The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is moving to put in place new complaint handling rules for consumers moving to the NBN.

“As we announced in December, the ACMA is putting in place stronger rules to improve consumers’ experience in migrating to the new Network,’ said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

“Today we are releasing the first of these new rules for public comment. These cover telco complaints-handling processes and monitoring. Following consultation, the ACMA intends these rules to be in place by June,” O’Loughlin said.

“Telco customers deserve to have their complaints dealt with quickly and effectively. As industry co-regulation is proving ineffective in this area, we will put in place rules so that the ACMA can act more quickly to deal with non-compliance,” she added.

The ACMA says approximately 25% of the resolved complaints were dissatisfied with the complaints-handling process. The top three reasons given by households for this dissatisfaction were:

  • 58% – too long to fix/take action
  • 48% – poor communication or lack of communication
  • 39% – nobody would take responsibility for fixing my problem

The rules on which the ACMA is currently consulting are intended to:

  • impose minimum complaints-handling processes requirements on all CSPs (retail carriage service providers like Telstra)
  • where appropriate, require the involvement of wholesale providers (like NBN) in the resolution of consumer complaints made to CSPs
  • improve the ACMA’s ability to enforce compliance with these minimum requirements
  • allow the ACMA to better monitor and analyse consumer complaint trends over time.

The consultation is on the draft Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard 2018

ACMA drove the process, and its research was integral to revealing the extent of the issues.

GadgetGuy’s experiences with the NBN and CSPs- commentary below.

We all know NBN is coming, but the key drivers for consumers are cost, keeping the existing phone number and speed. Simply put the key pain points are the same cost as they are currently paying, the same phone number and the same speed. Other than that they don’t give a rat’s! They don’t think about reliability as the phone, ADSL or Cable is seldom down.

These results are perhaps a little unexpected – CSPs are doing an excellent job at explaining their offer, but each was sufficiently different that is was hard to compare offers.

NBN is a standard product – three speeds, phone, and data allowance – all the same regardless of which CSP you use. Then marketing and PR then put lipstick on the pig in the hope of enticing you over the dozens of CSPs out there. The enticement is where the confusion reigns supreme.