New telecom laws slammed in Australia

The Australian government has decided not to introduce new laws toprotect customers from a marketing technique used by phonecompanies which is called “slamming”.

The technique involves a telco switching account holders fromanother telco to themselves without the customer’s permission.

A number of court cases were launched last year after complaintsthat some companies misrepresented their relationship with Telstra,harassed customers with telemarketing and transferred customerswithout their consent.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan said there were enoughsafeguards in place to discourage slamming.

“Legislative amendment is not necessary because there are processesin place under three industry codes of practice,” Senator Coonansaid. These are the customer transfer code, the commercial churncode and the pre-selection code – all under the auspices of theAustralian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF).

But the minister said the customer transfer code – which setsminimum standards to ensure all transfers of service that occur areauthorized and verified – was being reviewed to strengthen customerprotections.

In response to the problem, Telstra set up a hotline for complaintsover unauthorized transfers.

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