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New TCP Code in force from 1 September 2012

posted Sep 4, 2012, 6:40 PM by Austin Carwardine   [ updated Sep 5, 2012, 5:24 PM ]
The new and vastly more onerous and complex Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code) is now in force.  The TCP Code introduces a range of new obligations on all suppliers of telecommunications services, including advertising disclosure rules, provision of information, publication of "critical information summaries", disclosure of unit pricing or standard charges, rules in relation to selling practices, mandatory processes for credit management and complaint handling, bill content and provision requirements, and a new compliance scheme involving attestation of compliance to a new body Communications Compliance.

Some obligations, such as usage notifications, are to be implemented in stages over a period of up to two years, but most obligations are in force now.  A comprehensive compliance program must be completed by 1 March 2013, and then maintained and followed.  The initial compliance attestation is due to Communications Compliance by 1 April 2013.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has the power to direct a carrier or service provider to comply with the TCP Code, with a failure to comply with such a direction exposing the supplier to the risk of the ACMA seeking court-imposed fines of up to $250,000.  The ACMA's chairman Chris Chapman recently said that "the ACMA will be taking a much tougher and more directive stance, turning up the heat.  You will see more investigations, directions and court cases.  So if you're an industry player, for heaven's sake wise up."

For advice as to compliance with the TCP Code, please contact Austin Carwardine at Carwardine Legal.