Telco Live Connected has scored a formal warning from ACMA for breaches of the TCP Code’s billing and credit management rules. The mobile service provider was pinged for taking credit management action over disputed amounts and for breaching the Code’s rules about Direct Debit arrangements. But the warning includes a curious and controversial opinion on an important aspect of the law.
What did the telco go wrong?
Live Connected stumbled over three specific TCP Code rules.
Clause 5.7.1(c) mandates a minimum 10 working days to check their bill or charges, before a Direct Debit is actioned. ACMA’s investigation revealed that in the case of two customers, Direct Debits were triggered too early – in its opinion. We’ve analysed that opinion in a separate post.
Clauses 6.9.1(a) and 8.2.1(a)(v) of the TCP Code prohibits a telco from taking credit management action over an amount that is subject to an unresolved dispute. In the cases of the same two customers, ACMA found that credit management was initiated before customer complaints about their bills had been resolved.
View the full Live Connected ACMA Warning Report.
Other take-aways from this warning
First, ACMA stepped in following a TIO referral. Code referrals to the Authority are now a major TIO weapon.
Second, ACMA settled for a warning (rather than a Direction to Comply with the TCP Code) partly because the telco had subsequently been acquired by a new owner, which had given assurances of full compliance.
Third, ACMA was prepared to carry out an extensive investigation and take action over just two customers (although its report notes that the issues were probably more widespread within Live Connected.)