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.”
This Hidden iPhone Feature Let’s You Make A Call With One Button
The iPhone has a hidden feature that allows you to quickly redial the last phone number that you called. Rather than thumbing through your contact list to find your friend’s number again, you can immediately bring it up by using the manual dialer.
All you need to do is open the Phone app on your iPhone, open the manual dialer, and tap the green call button without entering anything. The first time you tap the call button, the last number that you called or dialed will be automatically pasted into the number entry. If you press the call button again, you’ll call that number.
All in all, it’s three quick taps (open the dialer, tap the call button, tap it again) versus several minutes of contact list scrolling and number-selecting. It’s much quicker, to say the least, especially if your contacts list is especially long. Just remember to take a moment to check the number before you redial, in case you’ve been making a lot of different calls.
While we’re on the subject of re-dialing, if you use Siri on your phone, you can also quickly redial a number with a voice command. Just activate Siri and say “redial that last number” to immediately call the last number that you dialed. Or, if you want to quickly hop back onto a number that called you, you can say “return my last call.”
Missed A Message? Here’s How To Access Your Android’s Notification Log
Notification history has been around on Android phones for years now, but the method to access the setting varies by which smartphone you’re using. Some phones, like the Google Pixel, use a stock version of Android, while others, like OnePlus and Samsung, use their own interface on top of Android. Here’s how to find the feature, irrespective of which version of Android your phone is running:
- Open the Settings app on your Android phone.
- Tap Notifications.
- Tap Advanced settings or More settings.
- Tap Notification history.
- Turn on the toggle on the next page.
On a Google Pixel phone, you’ll find Notification history inside the main Notifications settings menu. If you can’t see the option on your Android phone, use the search bar in the Settings app to search for Notification history. Tap on the option and turn on the toggle next to it.
8 Game-Changing Smart Home Devices You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
Depending on who you ask, mowing the lawn is either an enjoyable weekend routine or a seemingly never-ending chore. For anyone in the latter camp, Husqvarna’s Automower does almost everything for you — all you have to do is set it up and leave it to run. Well, not quite — you’ll have to install a boundary wire around your yard first so that your mower doesn’t pay an unsolicited visit to the neighbor’s house, but once it’s set up, it’s pretty hassle-free to operate.
Using the Automower Connect app, you can check in on how your mower is doing, find exactly where it is, and see how far it’s progressed through the mowing cycle. Alternatively, its status can also be checked through Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. An alarm system and PIN code locking system help deter thieves, and you’d certainly hope so given the price, as it retails for $2,499.99 on Amazon, but is sometimes discounted to $1,999.99.
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