REPORT: Telcos miss the mark on hardship support during COVID, time to treat them as an essential service

A new report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Customer financial hardship in the telco industry reveals stark variations in hardship support offered during the COVID-19 crisis, with some people receiving fair outcomes while others have been presented with unrealistic payment options and timeframes for repayment.  

“The vast variations in service and support between the providers shown in the ACMA report are disappointing,” said Gerard Brody CEO Consumer Action.  

“What the report and financial counsellor survey data underscores is that we cannot rely on the telco industry to police itself with industry-written rules, and that the sector needs modernised and effective regulations fitting for an essential service.” 

 The ACMA report echoes the findings of The Trouble with Telcos, research published by Consumer Action in November, which detailed numerous cases studies about the ways telcos in Australia have failed the community, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. 

“What the ACMA report and our research show is that vulnerable people in hardship are still failing to get the crucial support they need, risking devastating impacts for their work, education and health; it’s an unacceptable failure for an essential service,” said Mr Brody. 

ENDS 

Media Contact: Mark Pearce, Consumer Action Law Centre, 0413 299 567, media@consumeraction.org.au

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