It’s surprising how many service providers trip up on basic compliance requirements. We surveyed 36 Aussie CSPs against a simple benchmark. 21 of them failed.
The smaller the company, the more likely it was to get the requirement wrong. But Adam Internet, Crazy John’s and Soul Mobile all got it wrong, too.
The benchmark requirement
We wanted something so simple and clear that it doesn’t take a law degree to get right. So we chose clauses 5 and 6 of the Telecommunications (Standard Form of Agreement Information) Determination 2003.
Under this Determination, a CSP with a ‘Standard Form of Agreement’ under Part 23 of the Telco Act is required to offer a summary of the contract in a particular format.
Clauses 5 and 6 simply say:
- The summary must include the heading ‘Important Customer Information: Your Rights and Obligations’ or equivalent.
- The heading must be in a prominent position.
- If the heading is not in a colour that’s different from the rest of the summary, it must be bolded and at least two points larger than any other typeface.
Is that so difficult ? It was for our test selection.
- We chose 36 CSPs pretty much at random by googling ‘sfoa summary’.
- We located the online version of their summary via the Google results.
- We checked for compliance.
We awarded ‘passes’ only to CSPs that got everything right. Several others were very close, but after choosing such a simple test we thought it was fair to adopt a strict standard.
- Some CSPs omitted the required heading completely.
- Others used the same font size and colour as other headings in the document.
- One just used body text, and located the heading very ‘non-prominently’.
- One used larger text, but didn’t bold it.
Full results are set out at the foot of this post.
What’s going on here ?
We doubt that ACMA will be keelhauling the CSPs over this issue. But we’re mystified as to why such a simple, clear regulatory requirement trips up so many players.
Maybe there’s just too much regulation for CSPs to cope with.
|1800 Reverse||Fail||Heading is in same colour and font size as other headings|
|GRLmobile||Fail||Heading is in body text, in body text size and colour|
|Bendigo Community Telco||Pass|
|iiNet||Fail||Heading is in same size and bolded like other headings|
|Highway1||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|1800PhoneHome||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|Nextgen Pure Data||Pass|
|Adam Internet||Fail||Heading same size and colour as title heading|
|Crazy John’s||Fail||Part of heading is in same size and bolded like other headings|
|Soul Prepaid Mobile GSM||Fail||Doesn’t contain all words / Heading is in same size and bolded like other headings|
|Hunter & Coast Community Telco||Pass|
|Living Networks||Fail||Heading is in same size as other headings / not bolded / same colour as body text|
|ACC||Fail||Heading in same colour but not bolded|
|Telarus||Fail||Heading in same colour but not bolded|
|WebSecure||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|EFTel||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|Austar||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|AAPT||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|Netspeed||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|Trinity Telecom||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|Ansego||Fail||Standard, non-bolded body text|
|TransACT||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|Demand Broadband||Fail||Heading completely missing|
|iRoam||Fail||Heading same font size and colour as other headings|