New laws slammed

The government has decided not to introduce new laws to protect customers from a marketing technique used by phone companies which is called "slamming".

The technique involves a telco switching account holders from another telco to themselves without the customer's permission.

A number of court cases were launched last year after complaints that some companies misrepresented their relationship with Telstra, harassed customers with telemarketing and transferred customers without their consent.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan said there were enough safeguards in place to discourage slamming.

"Legislative amendment is not necessary because there are processes in place under three industry codes of practice," Senator Coonan said. These are the customer transfer code, the commercial churn code and the pre-selection code - all under the auspices of the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF).

But the minister said the customer transfer code - which sets minimum standards to ensure all transfers of service that occur are authorized and verified - was being reviewed to strengthen customer protections.

In response to the problem, Telstra set up a hotline for complaints over unauthorized transfers.

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