ACMA issues warning to pre-paid calling card providers

Providers fail to make required critical information summaries available to Australian consumers

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has today announced it has "taken action" against two pre-paid, international calling card providers, claiming they failed to make required critical information summaries available to Australian consumers.

The 1300 Woolies calling card is one of two services under scrutiny from the ACMA.
The 1300 Woolies calling card is one of two services under scrutiny from the ACMA.

The ACMA, a statutory authority within the Federal Government portfolio of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, revealed today that it has issued formal warnings to Skink Marketing Pty Ltd, which operates the website that sells the 1300 Woolies calling card, and Lime Telecom Pty Ltd.

The regulator said both calling cards failed to make Critical Information Summaries (CIS) available on their Web site, a requirement by the Telecommunications Consumer Protections code (TCP code).

ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman, said none of the cards' actual per-minute rate matched the advertised per-minute rate.

"These formal warnings are a reminder that the TCP code applies to all telcos, which includes calling card providers."

"CIS are important for all telco products, including calling cards, as they allow consumers to understand how charges are calculated, inclusions and exclusions, expiry dates and any additional fees."

The Critical Information Summary is a document that sets out a range of information about both post-paid and pre-paid services.

The document must set out key information about the service, including a clear description of the service, the minimum term for the contract, and any exclusions or important conditions, limitations or restrictions.

The CIS is also required to include key pricing information, such as the minimum and maximum monthly charge for the service, the maximum fee for early termination, and the standard charges.

The ACMA says that both Skink Marketing Pty Ltd, and Lime Telecom Pty Ltd, contravened clause 4.1.2 of the TCP code by failing to provide a CIS for the services offered by the pre-paid calling cards.

The news of the warnings issued to the pre-paid calling card providers in question was welcomed by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin, said the message sends a "strong signal" to providers.

"ACCAN welcomes this action by the ACMA, which sends a strong message to pre-paid calling card providers that they must comply with the same rules as the rest of the telco industry or face enforcement action from the regulator."

"We believe that unless regulators are prepared to pro-actively monitor the calling card industry and enforce existing consumer protections, consumers can have little confidence they are getting a good deal when they use these products."

"Prepaid calling card providers should be required to register and meet basic requirements so that shonky operators are stamped out of Australia."

ACCAN says it tested 100 Australian pre-paid calling cards used to phone overseas in December last year, and found "significant problems" with over 40 per cent of cards.

It also found that only 28 per cent of cards had in-store information about rates, terms and conditions, while no cards' actual rate per minute matched the advertised headline per-minute rate.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ACCAN Teresa Corbinaccanpre-paid mobileACMA

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Ross Catanzariti
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?