New elements of Australia's Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP code) take effect this month, promising better tools to help consumers manage their spending and avoid surprise bills.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said the spend management alerts are in addition to a range of new tools introduced for telco consumers following registration of the TCP code.
Under the new rules, residential customers on post-paid mobile and internet plans with the potential for excess usage charges will receive email updates when their data usage reaches 50%, 85% and 100% of the allocation included in their plan.
Customers of the three largest mobile providers—Optus, Telstra and Vodafone—will also receive SMS alerts when usage of their included value for calls and SMS reaches 50%, 85% and 100%.
ACMA Chairman Chris Champna said the notifications are targeted to customers most at risk of bill shock. “It complements previous improvements in consumer protections in the industry code arising from the ACMA’s Reconnecting the Customer inquiry, such as Critical Information Summaries, clearer advertising and improved complaint handling,” he said.
Customers will not receive the warnings if they are on a plan which does not expose them to bill shock. This includes plans that provide a pre-paid service, have a hard cap, are an unlimited service, a dial-up internet service or a shaped internet service.