Telstra's legacy IT systems delayed compensation payments: ACMA

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Telstra's legacy IT systems delayed compensation payments: ACMA

Telco pledges to automate.

Telstra has again run into trouble with regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority, this time over compliance with compensation rules.

According to the ACMA, internal system errors at the carrier delayed payments of more than $11 million, owed to more than 67,000 customers.

As a result, Telstra will undergo an independent review of its compliance.

The money has since been paid, and Telstra has entered into a court-enforceable undertaking with the ACMA.

Under the terms of the two-year undertaking, the carrier will improve its payment assessment system, and will regularly report on its compensation rules compliance to the ACMA.

The industry rules Telstra breached require telcos to meet agreed timeframes for landline connections and repairs. 

If those timeframes aren’t met, customers may be entitled to compensation.

When carriers breach the timeframes, they have 14 days to assess whether they’re liable to pay compensation.

Under the current investigation, the ACMA found that between July 2016 and June 2021, Telstra “failed to accept that it was liable to pay compensation within the 14 day time limit on over 67,000 occasions.”

ACMA has also recently made breach findings against Telstra for billing accuracy, download speed, and Integrated Public Number Database (IPND – the carrier failed to upload silent number requests to the database) , all of which were attributed to legacy systems problems.

“Telstra knows it has had a problem with its internal systems and processes, uncovered through its T22 business strategy," ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin said in a statement.

"The company has self-reported this and other recent breaches.

“It is critical that Telstra addresses these longstanding issues in building new systems and processes and, where it is obligated to, compensates its customers for historical breaches of telco rules.”

A Telstra spokesperson said that it "found an IT issue that meant a number of customers had not received customer service guarantee (CSG) payments when they should have."

"We self-reported this to the ACMA and made the payments to customers," the spokesperson said.

"Following this we did a deeper dive into our systems to check on CSG payments, and this identified a number of other instances when payments had not been made when they should have.  We have now made these payments, and entered into the undertaking with ACMA announced today.

"We deal with millions of customer transactions weekly, however this is clearly not the experience we want to be providing our customers.

"We are in the process of improving the system to better automate the payments."

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