– Telstra, Australia‘s largest telecommunications provider, was found to have taken credit management action against 70 customers, who were in a hardship agreement with the telecommunications company.
In a press release on Thursday, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it has ordered Telstra to comply with relevant regulations.
Any further breaches could have significant consequences for Telstra, with fines of up to A$250,000 (about US$169,000), the authority warned.
Under Australia’s telecommunications code, telecommunications companies are required to suspend credit management action, which may include service suspensions, disconnections or debt collection, while a hardship agreement is being discussed or in force.
However, an ACMA investigation found that Telstra affected 70 customers between August 2019 and April 2022.
Among them, 22 had their services restricted, four had their services suspended, five were disconnected, and two were referred to outside collection agencies. Other actions included letters or calls requesting payment.
“With the pressures caused by rising costs of living and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for telecommunications companies to support their customers, particularly those in difficult circumstances,” said the ACMA Interim President Creina Chapman.
According to the press release, the errors occurred due to two Telstra legacy IT systems preventing or delaying a customer status update, and the issues were resolved for 61 of the affected customers within 24 hours.
“Telstra must continue to urgently address these long-standing issues so that its systems can meet customer warranties,” Chapman added. ■