The TCP Code
The Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code C628:2015 applies to all Carriage Service Providers (CSPs) in Australia. The Code equally applies to all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet Access Providers (IAPs) as they fall within the category of CSPs.
Compliance with the Code Compliance Framework is monitored by Communications Compliance and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The ACMA enforces compliance with the TCP Code.
The Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (Cth) requires Carriers and CSPs to enter into and comply with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) Scheme. The TIO provides free-of-charge dispute resolution services to residential and small business consumers.
The TCP Code 2015 contains a set of rules designed to protect the rights of consumers and to promote good customer service and fair outcomes for consumers. It clearly outlines the obligations of retail CSPs.
The Code consists of an Introductory Statement and 9 Chapters.
Chapters 1 to 3 contain general rules around the functioning of the Code, definitions and general rules which apply to each of the subsequent chapters.
Chapter 4 provides rules for consumer sales, service and contracts, i.e. it includes obligations around information provision, advertising, selling practices, contracting, dealing with customers with different needs and customer service.
Chapter 5 sets out the obligations relating to providing customers with bills and billing information.
Chapter 6 contains rules for the provision and management of credit in connection with a telecommunications service, the denial and restriction of access to services, financial hardship and credit management tools such as spend alerts.
Chapter 7 sets out the obligations for providers that relate to consumers changing to another service provider or to consumers being transferred as a result of sale of business or reorganisation.
Chapter 8 contains rules for handling and resolving complaints from consumers including obligations around managing, monitoring, analysing, recording and reporting complaints.
[NOTE: The ACMA has made new industry rules relating to complaints received by carriage service providers: the Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard 2018 (the Standard) and the Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints) Record-Keeping Rules 2018 (the Rules).
The Standard is directly and immediately enforceable and includes new provisions to ensure that all upstream providers including wholesalers (such as NBN Co) and other intermediaries, provide reasonable assistance to retail CSPs and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) to resolve consumer complaints.
The Rules have been developed to enable the ACMA to directly assess whole-of-industry and individual provider complaint-handling performance and monitor trends in complaints.
As the Standard and Rules came into effect on 1 July 2018, the 2018 Compliance Attestation does not ask providers to attest to Compliance with the Complaints Handling obligations in Chapter 8 of the Code. Providers are expected to comply with the ACMA Standard and Rules, compliance with which will be monitored directly by the ACMA.
[NOTE: All Complaints opened on or after 1 July 2018 must be dealt with under the Standard.]
Chapter 9 contains provisions around the implementation of the Code Compliance Framework. This includes the role of Communications Compliance as well as the compliance and monitoring arrangements put in place to enhance compliance, customer service and protection, transparency and self-regulation of the telecommunications industry.
The Code has been developed by Communications Alliance Ltd. Please click here for more information.
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