Home > Communication > Protect Us: Conroy Forces Telcos To Up Customer Service Or Face $2M Fine

Protect Us: Conroy Forces Telcos To Up Customer Service Or Face $2M Fine

The new rules, announced by Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, will make “larger” carriers (CSPs) like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone improve the quality of services they provide.

In other words, all services including repairs, new connections and service appointments provided by telcos will be put within a timeframe and failure to meet these can result in fine of up to $2 million, although the max penalty has yet to be decided, Conroy says. 
This pro customer regulation could be just what the doctor ordered or at least help radically improve the woeful service which is endemic in Aussie’s telecommunications sector. 

In March, the Telecommunications ombudsman said it received 671 calls a day, on average, in the previous six months from consumers complaining about telcos and a whopping 167,955 new complaints last year.

Here is what one disgruntled Vodafone customer wrote today on NotGoodEnough.com: “Today I didnt give up six times in a space of two hours following their prompts speaking to their so called service people, just to be put on hold then hung up on each time I even heard the bombastic bastard laugh while he spoke to his colleague whilst he switched me over commenting on me.”

“The CSG Standard is designed to protect consumers against poor customer service by setting timeframes to be met by service providers for the connection, fault repair, and keeping of appointments in relation to standard telephone services provided under the Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) Standard,” Senator Conroy said.

Carriers will be forced to meet the timeframes 90 per cent of the time. 

“If the CSPs don’t meet the timeframes in 90 per cent of cases, then the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) can fine them using the infringement notice powers provided by the Parliament at the end of 2010.”

The new rules, the Telecommunications (Customer Service Guarantee – Retail Performance Benchmarks) Instrument (No.1) 2011 will commence on 1 October 2011. 

“These new measures will promote consistency and provide incentives for service providers to improve performance, especially in rural and remote areas” says Conroy. 

Senator Conroy said the benchmarks would only apply to service providers who offer at least 100,000 CSG services on a national basis.