The Australian Communication Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has delivered a two-year deadline to telecommunications service providers to voluntarily get behind the Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) code, or see the network lobby for more restrictive regulation.
The TCP code, which sees industry agree to meet certain levels of customer service, is currently being overhauled to improve customer complaint levels and to address consumer concerns within the telecommunications industry, including misleading advertising and confusing terminology.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released a "Reconnecting the Customer" draft report at the beginning of June, outlining six proposals to be considered for inclusion in the TCP code.
At ACCAN's Reconnecting the Customer Summit held in Sydney today, ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin said that the code would be considered a success if all of the measures proposed in the ACMA's report were implemented and at least 50 per cent of service providers complied with the code within 12 months.
Corbin has previously stated that the TCP code could not possibly meet the ACMA's demands, and today set the deadline for when ACCAN would stop giving service providers the benefit of the doubt and start getting tough, asking for regulatory enforcement.
"Within two years, we want to see 100 per cent of service providers have met the code compliance monitoring requirements, and we want to see a 70 per cent reduction on the 2011 complaints that are going to the TIO," she said, adding that if achieved, ACCAN would be satisfied.
"If not, ACCAN will call for additional enforcement mechanisms, including those service provider rules and additional industry standards that we believe are more enforceable than a code of practice."
Corbin said that additional regulation which could be introduced would be similar to that already introduced to manage mobile premium services, which saw a reduction of 70 per cent of premium service-related complaints to the TIO.