The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued a warning to Live Connected for failing to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) code.
Live Connected breached billing and credit management provisions of the code when it twice failed to provide customers with at least 10 working days to check their bill before a direct debit occurred, the ACMA said.
In addition, the ACMA said that Live Connected took credit management action in relation to disputed amounts that were the subject of unresolved complaints.
The breaches occurred in December 2012 and February 2013, before the acquisition of Live Connected by Vaya. The ACMA said Vaya has worked to improve processes and procedures of Live Connected to ensure future compliance with the TCP code.
“This outcome serves as a reminder to all telecommunications providers that consumers must be given the chance to check their bills before direct debits are made for non-fixed amounts—it’s a pretty simple proposition,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
The investigation followed a referral from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), and the ACMA said it would be “the first in a series” of investigations targeting telco direct debit practices.
“These investigations are designed to send a strong message to providers that their direct debit practices must comply with the TCP Code,” Chapman said.
Since the TCP code was registered in September 2012, the ACMA has sent 342 enquiry letters to service providers about possible instances of non-compliance, given 10 directions to comply and issued 107 formal warnings about non-compliance.
In October, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman said the TCP code had a hand in significantly reducing the number of complaints it received in the 2012-13 financial year.