“Tuanz has been arguing strongly for significantly stronger consumer disputes processes under the current mandatory code regime. However, the options released today leave this important function with the TCF.This is important. The recent media stories about poor UFB installations highlight how powerless consumers feel when dealing with large, faceless telecommunications companies.
“There may be no choice but to push for the alternative option of an independent dispute and complaint model to ensure that management of disputes is user-friendly, and focused on their rights.
“It is also disappointing that calls for a properly funded consumer advocacy group, and end-user focused research, have been ignored.This has worked well in other counties. In the past Tuanz has done a lot of the consumer advocacy work, but that isn’t the organisation’s primary purpose and not what it’s member pay subscriptions for. Likewise the research.
“The successful Australian model proves that contestable funds are an effective way of providing these important services and that leaving it up to the support from corporate entities is unrealistic.”In the recent past government has looked to an industry levy to fund its rural broadband project and certain services for disabled users. While it would be better to ditch the levy — the telecommunications industry is unfairly targeted in this way — it wouldn’t hurt to set aside a small share of this money to fund an independent consumer-oriented body.