Consumer Protections Issues Paper released for public comment

Professor Michael Fraser Joins TCP Code Review Steering Group

Communications Alliance today released for public comment an Issues Paper to guide the Review of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code.  The move coincided with the announcement of the appointment of Professor Michael Fraser to the Steering Group.

The Issues Paper proposes areas of focus for the Review of the TCP Code and Guideline and outlines priorities identified in submissions already received from the telecommunications industry, regulators and consumer representatives. 

Issues to be considered by the TCP Code Review include whether to:

  • Further simplify the Code language and provide a consumer-friendly summary of core consumer-protection principles, rights and obligations;
  • Update the Code to reflect technological and/or service developments;
  • Incorporate the Mobile Premium Services Code into the TCP Code;
  • Outline more explicitly service providers’ customer service commitments;
  • Develop an improved data collection system to monitor industry compliance;
  • Include measures to improve customer complaint management procedures;
  • Update existing provisions to ensure costs associated with a product or service are transparent and unambiguous; terms and conditions are fair; advertising is clear and accurate; and customer assistance is readily accessible and timely.

Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said the Issues Paper, submissions and public comment and input will help the Steering Group work to foster world class customer management performance in the Australian telecommunications industry.

“Achieving customer service excellence in telecommunications is a complex human and technological challenge to which the Australian industry is fully committed – it’s a world away from selling burgers or beer.

“Service providers need to deal effectively with rapid change in technology and service solutions, need to make diverse systems relate and respond appropriately to the human experience, and must anticipate and meet the ever-evolving needs of customers.”

The Steering Group invites comments on the TCP Code Review Issues Paper from interested parties.  The public comment period will close at 5pm on Friday, 16 July 2010.  The Issues Paper can be downloaded from the Communications Alliance website:

The TCP Code Review Steering Group is responsible for considering public comments and making a recommendation on the Code and any revisions required.  The Steering Group has proactively stated its commitment to a constructive and effective review focused on areas with potential to improve customer service outcomes and reduce complaints across the communications industry.

Professor Michael Fraser has been appointed to the Steering Group as the second consumer representative and will join the eight Steering Group members announced last week.  He is a Professor of Law at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and Director of the University’s Communications Law Centre. 

Commenting on Professor Fraser’s appointment, Mr Stanton said:  “Communications Alliance extends a warm welcome to Professor Fraser.  We look forward to drawing on his expertise as the Steering Group progresses this important review of the TCP Code.”

The nine members of the TCP Code Review Steering Group are:

  • Fay Holthuyzen, Independent Chair
  • Allan Asher, CEO, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)
  • Brenton Philp, General Manager Compliance Strategies Branch, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)
  • Kath Silleri, Executive Manager Content and Consumer, Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA)
  • John Stanton, CEO, Communications Alliance
  • Keith Besgrove, First Assistant Secretary, Digital Economy Services, Department of Broadband, Communications & Digital Economy (DBCDE)
  • John Horan, General Counsel, Primus
  • David Quilty, Group Managing Director, Public Policy & Communications, Telstra
  • Professor Michael Fraser, Faculty of Law, and Director, Communications Law Centre, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)

 The TCP Code regulates the behaviour of telecommunications service providers in areas including billing, credit management, complaint handling, customer contracts and the information contained in advertising.  The TCP Code and Guideline can be downloaded from:



Communications Alliance is the peak body for the Australian communications industry.  It presents a unified voice for its members in public policy, facilitates industry solutions to industry issues, and provides up-to-date information on industry issues.  Communications Alliance is also leading the industry's response to the National Broadband Network implementation.  For further information see