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ACCAN proposes automatic payments to users for missed appointments and repairs

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The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has put forward a recommendation that consumers should receive automatic compensation when a telecommunications provider misses an appointment or is unable to resolve an outage within a determined timeframe.

“Payments for connections and repairs outside the maximum timeframes should be automatic by both the network provider and retail service provider”, ACCAN wrote in a submission to Part B of the Consumer Safeguard Review conducted by the Department of Communications.

“If a wholesale network provider has connected a customer after the maximum timeframe it should automatically trigger a payment to be made against the retail service provider’s account. Likewise, the retail service provider should automatically make a payment to the customer.

“Automatic compensation requires systems and processes for payments and will not rely on customers knowing their rights or being informed by a provider with no incentive to do so.”

The department said it is conducting the review as current reliability regulations only apply to fixed voice services, and not to broadband networks. Any action from the review is expected to commence after the National Broadband Network is completed in 2020.

Among the proposals put forward in the review are: Mandatory rules to cover how consumers and small business are connected to fixed networks, including appointments; providers needing to focus on keeping consumers connected if timeframes cannot be met; the publishing of network reliability metrics by infrastructure providers whose services are onsold to consumers; and, the collection and publication of data from wholesalers and retailers by the Australian Communications and Media Authority relating to fixed connections, repairs, and appointments.

ACCAN agreed with a department proposal to have consumers be paid AU$100 for a missed appointment, but said that this should only be the starting point.

“We believe that the frequency of missed appointments should be monitored and the regulator should have the flexibility to recalibrate the compensation (penalties) in response to circumstances,” the submission said.

“The Department’s proposal for mandatory timeframes with significant penalties for non-compliance is absolutely necessary.”

Consumers should be able to exit contracts if they suffer from recurrent faults, ACCAN said, however it did concede that if the problem is with a wholesaler, changing retailers may not fix the issue.

On the topic of usable data, ACCAN put forward the idea for telcos to measure network reliability on a suburb-like level, and for that information to be accessible online.

Making public its submission yesterday, the Communications Alliance struck out at one of the department’s proposals, that consumer safegaurds are best delivered through direct regulation.

“Consumer safeguards are best delivered through competition, and regulation should only be used where competition is not delivering,” the Comms Alliance said in an all-bold statement.

Part A of the Consumer Safeguards Review, which focused on complaints handling, saw the Australian government decide against abolishing the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, following consultation that showed strong support for the external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme.

“[There was] near universal support from both consumers, industry, and other industry Ombudsman schemes for EDR in the telecommunications sector to continue being provided by the TIO, but acknowledgement that improvements could be made to the TIO Scheme,” the review said.

“The review suggests that it would be appropriate to implement reforms to the current TIO scheme rather than establish a new EDR body at this time. This approach would see the existing EDR arrangements maintained, but further reformed and enhanced.”

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The Best SUVs Of 2022

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The Suburban is the largest SUV that Chevy offers, and it’s perfect for hauling large families, lots of luggage, trailers, or whatever else you want it to. The 2023 Suburban recently launched with GM’s latest Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving tech, but other than that, not much has changed over the past few years. The thing is, it doesn’t need to, as the reason the Suburban remains a perennial bestseller despite being one of the oldest nameplates on the road is simple: space. There are very few passenger vehicles on the market that offer such a cavernous interior as the Suburban, which means buyers can usually look past the SUV’s other shortcomings.

It might be huge, for example, but the interior isn’t always up to scratch in terms of quality, especially in higher trims where prices start to creep uncomfortably close to true luxury rivals. Its base suspension is also just okay rather than great, and suffice it to say, it’s far from the most efficient SUV on the market. But, all those things matter less if you’re just looking for a big car that can haul people or cargo with ease, and for that alone, the Suburban retains its title as one of America’s best SUVs.

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Elon Musk Takes Shots At Apple For Scaling Back Advertising On Twitter

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The story doesn’t end with ads. Musk claims that Apple has “threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store.” Musk didn’t clarify whether Apple wants to remove the app from the App Store, or if the company is holding an updated version that might contain controversial changes potentially violating Apple policies. The latter recently happened when Apple kept Spotify from hawking its audiobooks via its streaming app.

When a reporter asked whether Apple was “threatening Twitter’s presence in the App Store or otherwise making moderation demands?” Musk only replied with a simple “Yes.” In another tweet, Musk started a poll asking his followers whether Apple should publish a record of the “censorship actions” it has taken in the past that have had a negative impact on customers.

Musk has also accused Apple of “secret suppression of free speech” and even appeared to suggest that the company might use its “duopolist powers to hurt Tesla” because the majority of Tesla car owners rely on the eponymous app installed on their iPhones.

Notably, the possibility of Twitter being banned from the App Store, and Google’s Play Store, evoked a rather interesting response from Musk over the past weekend. When quizzed about such a future, Musk responded that he would make a phone of his own if Twitter is booted off Apple and Google’s app repository. Musk is hoping to accomplish what the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta failed to pull off.

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Mac Users Have Another Emergency Chrome Update To Install

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Needless to say, if you haven’t updated Chrome on your Mac, you will need to do so as soon as possible. Click the three dots in the right corner of Google Chrome and navigate to “Help.” Once you hover the cursor over “Help,” you click on the option that says “About Google Chrome.” The browser should perform an automatic update and install any new update available. Once the installation is complete, you may see a message that reads, “Nearly up to date! Relaunch Chrome to finish updating.” You may be required to close all instances of Google Chrome and relaunch the browser for the update to take effect. Once updated, ensure that your browser is on version 107.0.5304.122 for Mac and Linux systems.

In its release notes, Google describes this vulnerability as a “heap buffer overflow” which falls in the category of a memory vulnerability. Hackers may use this vulnerability to gain access to Chrome’s memory and manipulate its execution patch. In addition, this vulnerability could also be potentially used to siphon off data or perform an arbitrary code execution, reports Bleeping Computer. We expect Google to share more details surrounding this latest security vulnerability in the next few weeks.

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