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Concern over regulatory oversight of Australian consumer complaints body

Concern over regulatory oversight of Australian consumer complaints body

Australian telecoms industry group, the Communications Alliance, says it is concerned over a government proposal for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to oversee the complaints body, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), reports Computerworld.  “Industry has never controlled the TIO – nor should we,” Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said. “By the same token, we do not believe that the TIO should be placed under the control of the industry regulator, the ACMA.” The government has released the outcomes of the first part of a three-part review of consumer safeguards in the telecoms industry. The first part of the review focused on complaints handling and consumer redress and the government is backing 32 recommendations that it says will offer additional protection for consumers, including a range of significant changes to the TIO’s processes, board structure and relationship with the ACMA. The report said that during the review there were significant differences expressed between consumers and industry stakeholders, and between Australia’s largest telcos and small and medium sized operators. However, the report said there was near-universal support for the TIO to continue providing external dispute resolution (EDR) services for the sector. The government should institute a process whereby the communications minister authorises the operation of the TIO scheme for a specified period of time (up to 5 years, for example), the report said. The authorisation would be administered by the ACMA and renewed or withdrawn “at the reasonable discretion of the ACMA, taking into account the performance of the scheme and after consulting with the Commonwealth Ministers responsible for Communications and Consumer Affairs policy, and subject to relevant regulatory obligations… The ACMA’s remit should be expanded to include regulatory oversight of the TIO Scheme,” the report recommends. Read more

  • Tuesday, 20 November 2018

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