The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has warned internet service provider NetCube to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP code) requirements on complaint handling.
If NetCube breaches the complaint-handling rules again, it could be taken to Federal court, according to the regulator.
In February 2016, the ACMA identified a surge in complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) about Melbourne-based Novatel Telecommunications, trading as NetCube. ACMA found an increase in complaint-handling issues from July to December 2015.
ACMA's investigations found NetCube did not keep proper records of due dates for a proposed resolution of customer complaints, making it difficult to ensure that it met the timeframes set out in the TCP code. The TCP code sets out two working days for urgent complaints and 15 working days for non-urgent complaints.
ACMA also found breaches of TCP code obligations relating to recording and communicating proposed resolutions, delays in resolving complaints, reasons for resolutions, customer responses, underlying causes and credit management action for disputed amounts.
According to ACMA, the company's complaints failures continued from December 2015 to February 2016. NetCube pursued a customer debt when the amount was the subject of an unresolved complaint, contrary to the requirements of the TCP code, ACMA found.
Acting ACMA chairman Richard Bean said the telco industry "has come a long way since complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) peaked at almost 200,000 a year six years ago".
"But the complaint-handling practices of some providers continue to fall short of the standards expected by consumers and the ACMA will hold them to account.
"The ACMA expects NetCube to make improvements to its complaint-handling practices and will be keeping a close eye on complaints to the TIO," Bean added.