The telecommunications industry has a set of minimum standards for service providers called industry codes of practice. Created by the industry, these codes contain rules about various situations involving telecommunications.
These rules can help service providers understand consumer complaints and decide on the appropriate way to resolve complaints.
As benchmarks for good practice, codes can also help providers identify recurring and systemic issues and improve their practices generally.
The TIO and industry codes
The code the TIO most frequently refers to is the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code. This is "a code of conduct designed to ensure good service and fair outcomes for all consumers of telecommunications services in Australia" (Communications Alliance).
Industry codes and TIO complaints
The TIO uses codes to help understand and resolve complaints.
During referral, if the complaint suggests a code rule may not have been followed by a service provider, the TIO may record the code rule as a "possible" issue on the complaint record.
During conciliation the TIO raises code issues with providers and consumers to help them settle on a resolution for a complaint.
For complaints that proceed to investigation the TIO collects information and evidence about identified code issues. We assess that material so we can formally decide if there has been a breach of code rules.
For more information, view TIO factsheet: Industry codes and TIO complaints
How the TIO shares information about industry codes
The telecommunications industry and other bodies use TIO code data to monitor industry performance and improve industry practice.
For TIO members, the TIO publishes monthly reports on possible code issues and confirmed breaches of code rules on the TIO member portal.
The TIO also reports on code data to:
- Australian Communications and Media Authority
- Communications Alliance
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
Compliance with industry codes
Providers must comply with codes that have been registered with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The ACMA can warn or direct a provider to comply with a code.
The ACMA also has the power to:
- issue an infringement notice up to the value of $6,600, and
- take a matter to the Federal Court, which can impose a penalty of up to $250,000.
For more information visit the ACMA website.