The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has fined seven telcos a combined total of $88,200 for failing to comply with rules aimed at ensuring consumers receive adequate information about their National Broadband Network (NBN) services.
Telechoice, My Net Fone, Aussie Broadband, Activ8me, Flip TV, Mate Communicate and Hello Broadband have all received infringement notices from the ACMA for failing to comply with the Telecommunications (NBN Consumer Information) Industry Standard 2018.
The infringement notices are the first such notices to be issued under the new standard, which requires telcos to provide clear and meaningful information about their NBN plans in their advertising and in one-page key facts sheets, since it came into effect in September last year.
The standard itself is part of a broader suite of rules drawn up by the ACMA in 2018 in an effort to improve Australian consumers’ experience migrating to the NBN. Among the rules introduced by the ACMA is a requirement of NBN resellers to give consumers the information they need to choose an NBN plan that works for them.
Other rules introduced by the ACMA require telcos to test that their new NBN services are working, provide an interim service to consumers or reconnect an old service if there are delays in getting a new NBN service working and moving swiftly to resolve consumer complaints.
The ACMA Authority Member Fiona Cameron said that telcos have had ample time to familiarise themselves and ensure they are in compliance with the ACMA’s NBN rules.
“Failure to comply in this late stage of the NBN rollout is not acceptable and warranted stronger action,” Cameron said.
‘Failing to give consumers clear and honest information about NBN plans is unacceptable and can lead to misleading conduct as recently highlighted by the recent Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s report.
“Telcos need to provide information that will assist consumers to choose an NBN plan that suits their needs and if they don’t they will be held to account,” she said.
The fines come just days after a new report by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) lifted the lid on the practice of a “small number” of telemarketers misleading and pressuring Australian consumers to sell them NBN services they may not want or need.
In the report, the office of the TIO said that between January and December last year, it received 1,729 complaints about misleading conduct involving services delivered over the NBN.