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Poor Customer Service by Telcos Hits Poor the Hardest: Brotherhood


28 July 2011 at 10:53 am
Lina Caneva
The Brotherhood of St Laurence has called for widespread reform of the telecommunications industry in response to the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s draft public inquiry report Reconnecting the Customer.

Lina Caneva | 28 July 2011 at 10:53 am


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Poor Customer Service by Telcos Hits Poor the Hardest: Brotherhood
28 July 2011 at 10:53 am

 

The Brotherhood of St Laurence has called for widespread reform of the telecommunications industry after making a submission in response to Australian Communications and Media Authority’s draft public inquiry report Reconnecting the Customer.

BSL’s Senior Manager for Financial Inclusion, Sally Finlay says many Australians experience poor service from a mobile phone company but the impact of inconsistent coverage and confusing bills on vulnerable consumers can be devastating.

Finlay says switching telephone companies is neither easy nor affordable and sometimes people are forced to move between three or four companies before they find one that works for them.

She says when it comes to vulnerable clients seen by BSL, telecommunications companies are being reckless with people’s health and safety by not clearly explaining services and honoring their service commitments.

She says the combination of unexpectedly large bills and poor customer service can leave people without a working phone for an extended period of time.

The Brotherhood has called on ACMA to become more involved in making sure customers can exercise their right to choose without having to tackle a maze of poor customer service, confusing information and misleading offers.

The Brotherhood has made a number of key recommendations to address the lack of clarity in customer information:

  • That standard industry-wide units of measurement are implemented so customers can compare between services.
  • That simple, useful ACMA-prescribed price comparison tables are included on all mobile, internet and home telephone advertisements.
  • That all customers should automatically receive complete, comprehensive fully-itemised billing information for all accounts without having to pay extra.
  • That regulation be considered to ensure switching cost and contracts lengths do not become barriers to competition.

To access the Brotherhood’s complete submission to the inquiry go to http://www.bsl.org.au/Hot-issues/Policy-submissions.aspx


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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