Friday, March 04, 2011

Australia - Govt has proposed changes to the ombudsman scheme to strengthen consumer protection

[computer world] A discussion paper which proposes giving the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) scheme more power to enforce telecommunications regulations was released today by Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

The discussion paper forms part of the continuing reforms to telecommunications consumer safeguards.

“The recently released TIO statistics show that complaints to the ombudsman remain at very high levels and this is not acceptable,” said Senator Conroy in a statement.

According to the TIO, overall complaints for the July to December 2010 period increased nine per cent, driven by a sharp increase in mobile phone service issues. Mobile phone issues alone increased some 20 per cent.

“While I acknowledge the hard work the TIO does to deliver consumers with quick and effective solutions, I want to ensure it has the appropriate tools to deal with complaints,” he said.

Some options strengthen the compliance and enforcement regime could include a new industry code or standard providing the TIO with a public reporting power, strengthening the compliance mechanisms under the existing Telecommunication Consumers Protection (TCP) Code, and providing the Australian Consumer Communications Action Network (ACMA) with the ability to issue infringement notices.

Conroy proposes Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Scheme reform
see also discussion paper

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