Compensation For Missed Appointments? NBN Says Nah
The NBN is criticising the excessive and unjustified nature of the draft decisions handed down from the National Consumer Watchdog regarding the standard of the wholesale broadband service with a particular focus on an increase of $50 to the missed appointment rebate.
The Consumer Watchdog has drafted its critical proposals to the NBN Wholesale Service Standards Inquiry, offering a potential decision on regulation terms to improve the end-user experience on the National Broadband Network.
The Australian Consumer Competition Commission (ACCC) laid out eight critical proposals within their draft decision, including an increase to the missed appointment rebate from $25 to $75.
Raised as a form of incentive, the ACCC believes this will encourage the NBN Co to keep appointments and account for the ‘considerable harm’ placed on end-users.
The ACCC has highlighted the absence of ‘strong service level commitments supported by effective incentives’ as the result of poor performance outcomes, thus causing harm to the consumer.
However, the NBN believes that a lack of enforcement will allow telcos to work the system to take the rebate themselves, identifying ‘access seekers’ as a significant risk to the effectiveness of the refund.
The example the NBN provides is a telco selling a retail service at one speed to the customer, then ordering a higher rate to extract a rebate ‘even where there is no corresponding access seeker or end-user customer loss or disadvantage’.
Without ‘express pass-through obligations’ the NBN believes a perverse incentive for these access seekers will be created.
The NBN believes the National Watchdog has failed to provide ‘clear evidence of market failure’ as a result of the missed appointments, suggesting ‘there must also be a considered analysis of the likely overall outcomes that would result from any intervention.’
‘There is a notable absence of such evidence or analysis in the (ACCC) draft decision,’ a decision that could fundamentally change the nature and method of its products and services.
However, the ACCC is putting the onus on the NBN to conduct ‘appropriate testing to ensure installation activities are successful’ including recording ‘service-specific information about the progress of appointments, connections and faults and make this available to access seekers in a way that is accurate, timely and accessible.’
The ACCC does highlights that since 17 November the NBN Co has reduced the level of detail in its monthly service level reports, aggregating multiple service levels into a single metric, furthermore pointing out that since the introduction of a contractual pass-through mechanism in October 2018 provided an example of the importance of robust information
flows to facilitate good consumer experience.
Unfortunately, due to the redacted nature of the draft information regarding NBN Co performance is obscured and thus ChannelNews is unable to determine whether or not the ACCC’s preliminary decision is indeed unjustified.