Watchdog snaps at telcos for ignoring compliance scheme

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Watchdog snaps at telcos for ignoring compliance scheme

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has handed down "directions to comply" to two Sydney-based communications resellers for not joining the mandatory Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman scheme.

The TIO is an industry scheme that provides a mechanism for handling "complaints by residential and small business customers of telecommunication providers". Any company that provides services to those demographics must join.

The ACMA named Compare Communications and 123 Group Ltd, the company behind the Virion brand, as the offenders.

"Before the directions were given, the ACMA provided both companies with several opportunities to voluntarily join the TIO scheme or explain why they believe they should not be required to join."

The directions came after an ACMA investigation verified that both businesses offered "telephone and internet services to small business customers".

Compare Communications has since become compliant, while Virion still had not joined the TIO as of 22 January.

Compare's owner and managing director, John Barker, said that his company had thought it joined TIO when it first opened in 2012, so was surprised to find itself not in compliance.

"There was a lot of confusion about the right paperwork… People who we dealt with [originally] were no longer [at TIO]," Barker told CRN. "We've now had confirmation that it's all been set up and approved."

CRN contacted Virion for comment but had not received a response at the time of writing.

"The ACMA will continue to actively support the TIO's complaints resolution role by ensuring that all service providers who are required to join the TIO scheme do so," said ACMA chairperson Chris Chapman.

Virion is a VoIP provider located in Crows Nest in northern Sydney. Compare Communications has branches in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Melbourne, describing itself online as "a vendor-agnostic service provider who has forged great relationships with all the leading telecommunications carriers in Australia".

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