Telstra has paid a $3,010,320 penalty and refunded over $17.7 million to thousands of customers after charging them for inactive internet services over an 11-year period. A further $3.4 million is to be refunded by the end of the year.
An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found that 6,532 customers, the majority of whom were small businesses, were wrongly billed by Telstra an average of around $2,600 between April 2012 and August 2023.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the ACMA has lost patience with Telstra after this series of significant billing errors.
Read More Telstra to Pay $24 million in Penalties and Refunds for Inaccurate Billing
New research from CHOICE has revealed 65% of people don’t trust businesses to use their data responsibly and in their best interest – an increase of 25% from 2022.
“It’s no surprise more people don’t trust companies to use their data responsibly. Over the past year we’ve seen the terrible consequences data breaches can have for those affected by them, including at Medibank and Latitude,” says Senior Campaigns and Policy Advisor Rafi Alam.
Read More 65% of People Don’t Trust Business to Use Their Data Responsibly: CHOICE
The Consumers International Congress 2023, held in beautiful Nairobi, Kenya, kicked off its first day with a stellar consumer protection agenda. Officially opened by the Deputy President of Kenya, His Excellency Rigathi Gachagua, E.G.H, the theme of building a resilient future for consumers was well and truly alive through the panel discussions and the conversations throughout the day. Below are some of the highlights from an action-packed Day 1!
Read More Fair, Safe and Sustainable – Day 1 of Consumers International Global Congress
New mandatory industry codes are being developed by the Australian Government to outline the responsibilities of the private sector in relation to scam activity, with a focus on banks, digital communications platforms, and telecommunications providers. A short survey is also available for members of the public who wish to participate in the consultation process and provide information about their experience with scams, rather than provide a written submission.
You can read the Consultation Paper and how to make submissions here. Submissions are due by 29 January 2024.
Read More Have Your Say on the Scams Mandatory Industry Code Survey
The current USO only provides consumers with a right to a standard telephone service. A standard telephone service refers to a landline (home phone) connection many of us grew up with, and must provide access to local, national and international calls, untimed local calls, and free access to emergency service numbers.
These services are essential, and for many individuals residing in regional, rural, and remote areas they are a reliable and trusted lifeline during natural disasters and emergencies.
However, communications technology and public expectations have changed since the USO was introduced, and USO reform may provide opportunities to get a better deal for consumers and ensure more reliable and robust services.
Read More Universal Service Obligations – Have Your Say in the Future of Communication
Digital platforms with significant market power can use practices like bundling or tying of products, pre-installation and default settings to limit customer choice or deter innovation from competitors.
Read More Expansion of Digital Platforms Demonstrates “critical need for regulatory reform”
“Australians increasingly use digital platforms for work, study and play and can benefit from their wide range of interconnected products and services. While the size and scale of digital platforms alone does not raise concern, there is a risk that this expansion may be driven by a desire from digital platforms to entrench or extend their market power,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.
Original media release by CALC (24/11/2023). Consumer Action Law Centre has welcomed the scams safe accord announced by the Australian Banking Association (ABA) and Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) which has involved, for the first time, member banks joining forces and agreeing on key steps to enhance scams protections for Australian banking customers. “We are…
Read More Banking Industry Announces First Big Step in Addressing Scams
“eSafety and indeed the wider community, expect that all online services, should be taking all reasonable steps to prevent their services from being used to store, share and distribute this horrific content and that’s what these standards are intended to achieve.”
Read More Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Opens Draft Industry Standards to Public Consultation
With the continued stress and pressure of the current cost of living crisis, changes to the NBN and a year filled with hacks, scams, identity theft, and outages we thought it was time to remind everyone of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network’s six guides for talking to telcos. Below is a list from the…
Read More ACCAN’s Tips for Talking to Telcos
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Limited (TIO) is seeking expressions of interest to appoint a Director with Consumer Experience, to commence in February 2024 with their first meeting in April.
The TIO promotes equal opportunity with a commitment to being inclusive and encouraging diversity.
Read More TIO Looking to Appoint Director with Consumer Experience
The USO is a longstanding telecommunications safeguard that ensures all Australians can access fixed phone services and payphones, regardless of where they live. The USO is currently delivered by Telstra, and relies on ageing copper wire that is increasingly expensive to maintain.
Read More Consultation Launches for Modern Universal Service Obligation
The consultation process will explore options to deliver better communications outcomes – particularly for rural and regional, and First Nations communities who currently rely on fixed phone services to stay connected.
“ACCAN has unfortunately continued to receive extremely concerning reports of victim-survivors being asked to engage with perpetrators,” said ACCAN Deputy CEO, Dr Gareth Downing.
“Technology-facilitated abuse is becoming more commonplace, and it is unconscionable that Australians facing DFV risk being cut off from potentially life-saving channels of communication, due to poor practices and processes on the part of some in industry” said Dr Downing.
Read More ACCAN Calls for Consumer Protection Against Domestic and Family Violence