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Not Tough Enough: Consumer Groups

Consumer bodies say ACMA’s new code does not do enough to protect vulnerable consumers from aggressive telco sales tactics. In addition to the credit check on $1000 contracts, they want to see telcos adopt an affordability assessment like those required for other types of credit.

They say telcos should have to inquire about any outstanding debts or ongoing spending to get a comprehensive view of how much consumers can comfortably spend.

Also, they say the code needs to do more to protect existing customers from questionable up-selling practices as telcos increasingly package tech products such as drones, smartwatches and smart speakers with service plans.

Carolyn Cartwright, pictured, MD of MoneyMob Talkabout, said her organisation had documented more than $700K worth of telco debt in remote Indigenous communities in the past 18 months. “There is a commonly occurring pattern of sales involving multiple premium devices and add-ons. … Very often these consumers have little understanding of the implications of the contracts they are signing,” she said.

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