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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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Biden Is Giving Apple’s Steve Jobs An Incredible Posthumous Award

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Jobs, who co-founded the technology company Apple Inc., was arguably one of the most influential figures in the world of technology. Dubbed a visionary, he was credited with being the driving force behind several products and ideas that have shaped the modern world. It was under Jobs’ leadership that Apple came up with revolutionary products like the iPod, Mac computers, and perhaps, his single most important contribution to the world of consumer technology; the almighty iPhone.

After Jobs debuted the first-generation iPhone in 2007, he pretty much set the tone for the evolution of the modern smartphone. Even in 2022, more than a decade after his passing, the modern smartphone continues to base themselves on the blueprint and form factor that Jobs created. Needless to say, he has often been hailed as the harbinger of the smartphone revolution — one that directly and indirectly transformed the lives of millions of people across the globe.

When Steve Jobs is posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on July 7, for many of his fans and followers, it will serve as a moment of reflection for such an impactful figure in technological history.

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GM Built 95,000 Vehicles It Can’t Sell

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In its earnings report, sales across all GM-owned brands are not expected to slow down any time soon, despite the roughly 95,000 vehicles that can’t be sold. GM noted in an SEC filing report from July 1 that these vehicles will be finished in the latter half of 2022, as semiconductors begin to flood back into the market. This could happen sooner, as reports since late April have claimed the shortage is now down to a transport logistics issue rather than a silicon supply issue.

GM highlighted in its report that its third quarter could provide a strong boost to its market share, reflective of growing demand for its vehicles. The company cited a 29% year-over-year increase to sales figures across commercial, government, and rental sectors.

The car manufacturer broke its projections down further, claiming that the commercial demand for midsize pickups saw an increase of 65%, while other vehicle groups enjoyed a 12 to 14% boost. Electric vehicles were also mentioned in the report. Over 7,300 electric vehicles were sold in the second quarter of 2022, which included the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, Chevrolet Bolt EV, and BrightDrop Zevo 600 van. However, these sales figures might have looked more hopeful for the future of EV, if the semiconductor chip shortage not been an obstacle. As of June 30, the company reported 247,839 vehicles (or about 152,839 after you subtract the 95,000 unfinished vehicles) were stored in its collective inventory, many of which were already on their way to retailers.

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Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica: Everything We Know About The Supercar

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The Lamborghini Huracán Tecnica is on its way, and from what we’ve seen, it looks like a groundbreaking display form the renowned automaker.

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