Consumer safeguards

The Government's approach to consumer safeguards

The Australian Government promotes an open, competitive telecommunications market so Australians can have access to innovative and affordable services. The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 supports this aim.

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Act 2010 also protects consumers by:

  • increasing competition in the telecommunications industry
  • strengthening consumer safeguards
  • giving the Australian Communications and Media Authority the power to develop industry standards.

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is a free and independent alternative dispute resolution body for small business and residential consumers in Australia who have unresolved complaints about their telephone or internet services.

The TIO aims to settle disputes quickly in a fair, objective and non-bureaucratic way, looking at:

  • what the law says
  • good industry practice
  • what is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances.

You can complain to the TIO about issues with a telecommunications service by:

  • phone: 1800 062 058 (free-call)

Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code is an industry code developed by the peak industry body, Communications Alliance and registered with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The code sets minimum standards for telecommunications providers in their interactions with customers. This includes standards for advertising services, contracts, billing, sales techniques and redress mechanisms.

The TIO can investigate breaches of the code.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is the government agency responsible for the regulation of telecommunications services.

The ACMA works closely with industry to:

  • develop active self-regulation
  • make sure companies comply with licence conditions, codes and standards.

The ACMA monitors the effect of regulations to ensure they are responsive to the community's needs.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is Australia's national consumer and competition regulator. The ACCC:

  • regulates the telecommunications infrastructure that's needed for retail services
  • promotes competition and fair trade to benefit consumers, businesses and the community
  • enforces the Australian Consumer Law, which protects consumers from unconscionable conduct and unfair contract terms.