ACMA beef up laws on customer transfers by telco providers

Switching contracts requires authorization

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has enforced legislation preventing telecommunications providers from transferring unauthorized customers to new services.

The new code of practice builds on a 2001 code revision to strengthen rules ensuring that the transfer of a customer only occurs after authorization has been obtained by appropriate means and with informed customer consent.

ACMA chair Chris Chapman said the code has been given teeth to allow unauthorized transfers to be immediately reversed by the customer.

"The revised code ensures that the person who is responsible for the service is the one who consents to the transfer, [so] if a service is transferred without the account holder's consent it can be reversed," Chapman said.

"The code was initially developed to minimize the likelihood of unauthorized transfers, [but] the new rules mean that service providers must put in place appropriate verification procedures and take steps to confirm, document and notify the customer of the transfer."

The code, dubbed the ACIF C546:2007 Customer Transfer Industry Code, was developed by the Australian Communications Industry Forum, and is registered and enforced by the ACMA.

Download the code at the Communications Alliance Web site.

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