ACMA tells Dodo to clean up its act or face penalties

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ACMA tells Dodo to clean up its act or face penalties

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has told telecommunications provider Dodo to comply with industry codes of practice or face penalties, after receiving an unusually high number of complaints from the ISP’s customers.

The warning was issued after a Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) referral prompted ACMA to investigate Dodo’s compliance with the Australian Communication Industry Forum’s Complaint Handling and Billing Codes.

The TIO was particularly concerned about the rising number of grievances it was receiving about Dodo’s complaints handling policies at that time.

“In directing Dodo to comply with the codes, ACMA is using its formal enforcement powers in order to ensure that customers of Dodo are offered the same level of consumer protection as customers of other telecommunications providers,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. "Failure to comply with the direction may attract civil penalties.”

Prior to ACMA’s intervention, both Dodo and the communications watchdog attempted negotiations in September 2007 to rectify Dodo’s breaches of the Billing Code. However, after negotiatons broke down, ACMA decided to issue a Direction under section 121 of the Telecommunications Act 1997. Dodo sought a reconsideration of the decision but the Direction was affirmed by ACMA in January 2008.

“While Dodo appears to have made significant progress in recent times relating to its complaints handling, ACMA still considers that Dodo has a sufficient way to go before it will become fully compliant with the Complaint Handling and Billing Codes, which are the important consumer protections we’re interested in restoring,” Chapman said.

The complaints surrounding Dodo come as little surprise. Late last year PC Authority magazine revealed the results of the largest ever survey of Australian consumer IT buyers and the consensus of the 14,000 respondents was that Dodo was a dud.

Of Dodo, PCAuthority said that only 20 percent of its customers were satisfied with Customer Support while two-thirds were dissatisfied and 45 percent were very dissatisfied.

PCAuthority concluded Dodo’s performance with these prophetic words: “A truly-pathetic 35% of customers saying they’d recommend Dodo to a friend was the final nail in the coffin of a truly dreadful performance – one that warrants investigation by the authorities.”

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