C628:2019 Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code

Full code available here: C628:2019

C628:2019 commenced on 1 August 2019. Prior to that date, Suppliers were obliged to comply with the previous version of the Code (C628:2015 (Incorporating Variation 1/2018).

The TCP Code is a code of conduct for the Telecommunications Industry in Australia. It provides community safeguards in the areas of sales, service and contracts, billing, credit and debt management and changing suppliers. It also sets out a framework of code compliance and monitoring. It applies to all Carriage Service Providers in Australia, and is enforceable by the ACMA.

Code Revision

The Code was revised by a Communications Alliance working committee, with representatives from industry, consumers, government, and regulators, and was registered by the ACMA on 1 July 2019.

The revisions include a range of increased consumer protections, including in selling practices, credit assessment, financial hardship, and assistance for vulnerable consumers, in addition to revisions for clarity and updating provisions to accurately reflect the marketplace.

Communications Alliance has provided the following documents to assist Suppliers in their compliance efforts with the new Code:

  • Tracked Changes version: This version of the Code has tracked changes for all substantive revisions (noting that significant restructuring and editing for clarity are not tracked, for ease of reading).
  • Summary of amendments: This provides a list of all substantive amendments, but must not be used as a substitute for reading the Code.
  • Additionally, Communications Compliance has provided Chapter Guidance Notes on their CSP Portal.

Compliance Obligations

Registration with and updating of the TCP Code Communications Alliance CSP Register and lodgement of an annual Compliance Attestation are mandatory for all providers who provide Telecommunications Services to consumers as defined in the TCP Code.

How do I register with Communications Alliance?

Details of this obligation are in 10.1.1 b) of C628:2019 Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code. To register:

  1. Download the form here.
  2. Make sure the form is signed by an authorised person, then email it to info@commsalliance.com.au or fax it to +612 9954 6136.

The TCP Code requires that you notify Communications Alliance within one month of changes to your registration information – you may also use the form to update your registration details.

Communications Compliance

Registration with the TCP Code Register is independent of the TCP Code obligation to lodge an annual TCP Code Compliance Attestation with the industry TCP Code compliance monitor, Communications Compliance. Lodgement of the Attestation is facilitated via the Communications Compliance CSP Portal.

ACMA Complaints-Handling Rules

Complaints Handling rules were previously included in the TCP Code, but as of 1 July 2018 are addressed by the ACMA’s Complaints Handling Standard and Record Keeping Rules. You can find more information on the ACMA’s website.

As of Code commencement (1 August 2019), all Complaints must be dealt with under the ACMA’s new Consumer Complaints Handling Standard.

Suppliers are also required to comply with the ACMA’s Complaints Record Keeping Rules.

Related Communications Alliance documents

The Code references a range of other obligations and resources for providers, including some published by Communications Alliance. For ease of access, information on some of those are provided here:

Customer Information Obligations Framework

Customer Information Obligations Framework (pdf 520kb)

The Customer Information Provisions Policy Framework provides context for the consideration of customer information requirements; that is, to:

  • enable an informed consideration of whether an issue is already dealt with via existing rules or not (i.e. ensure no duplication/overlap) and whether additional information is needed or not, and
  • apply a filter or categorisation tool to determine the level of criticality of the new information, and therefore how it should be handled (pushed to customers or made available, is it required to be provided at a particular point in time, etc).

Assisting Customers Experiencing Domestic and Family Violence

G660:2018 Assisting Customers Experiencing Domestic and Family Violence.

This Guideline provides education and guidance to providers on how to assist customers experiencing domestic and family violence.

Sales Practices and Credit and Debt Management

IGN 013 Sales Practices and Credit and Debt Management

This IGN was published in October 2017 to illustrate a range of good practices for CSPs to consider and apply as appropriate. It has not yet been updated to reflect the newest version of the Code, but will be revised in the coming months.

Authorised Representatives and Advocates

IGN 017 CommunicationsAlliance published this IGN in July 2019 to provide further information on therelevant clauses in the TCP Code (Clauses 3.5 and 3.6, TCP Code C628:2019), tostreamline the appointment of Authorised Representatives and Advocates whilecontinuing to protect consumers from fraud.

Other relevant documents

Suppliers can find links to all Guidelines, Codes, and Industry Guidance Notes referenced in the Code on our Publications page.