ACMA to test if Australians really are more satisfied with telcos

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ACMA to test if Australians really are more satisfied with telcos

National survey to be conducted ahead of TCP review.

Three years after reforming consumer protections for telco customers in Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority wants to find out what - if any - difference the reforms have made.

Back in 2012 the ACMA changed the telecommunications consumer protection (TCP) code of conduct to make pricing, extra charges and the nature of services included in a telephony product more transparent and comparable between providers

The changes were also aimed at improving complaint handling by telcos.

In the years since, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has reported a downward trend in the number of complaints it receives year-on-year, with another drop registered in 2014-15.

But in documents released this week, the ACMA has acknowledged that this count reflects “just one aspect” of the overall telecommunications customer experience.

It has put $154,000 on the table to commission a new, national survey of customers to getter a more accurate snapshot of how this experience has changed.

The new survey, which is due to be finalised by November this year, will ask a variety of billpayers who are 18 years and over about their satisfaction with complaints handling, bill shock, transparency around offers and promotions, whether they understand critical information summaries, and their experience using telco or ISP provided spend-management tools.

The ACMA wants to identify the kinds of activities that most commonly lead to overspend, and how customers typically respond to bill shock.

It is also planning to pay particular attention to over-the-top services like video streaming, and how these may be better incorporated into future iterations of the TCP code.

The next review of the code is due in 2017, and the ACMA said the survey findings will be an important source of guidance for any changes that may result from the re-think.

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