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Expectations For Telcos Dealing With Vulnerable Consumers

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released guidelines for the telecommunications sector when dealing with consumers in vulnerable circumstances.

Nerida O’Loughlin, ACMA.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said ACMA’s Statement of Expectations covers key aspects of customer interactions, from selling practices and customer service, to the provision of financial hardship support.

“Telecommunications is now an essential service for everyday life,” O’Loughlin said. “When consumers find themselves in difficult circumstances, we want to see telcos providing genuine and constructive support that, to the greatest extent possible, avoids disconnection of services.”

The ACMA has also released an audit report looking at how a small cross-section of telcos, including a number of market leaders, were meeting their regulatory obligations in dealing with disadvantaged and vulnerable consumers.

O’Loughlin said the audit report recognises the positive practices of a number of providers. However, it also flagged areas of concern.

“Our audit found that some telcos were not training staff at appropriate intervals (within 12 months) to recognise or deal appropriately with vulnerable consumers,” she said.

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