Here is another good news – a victory to the public against telcos.
The Federal Court has imposed a penalty to an ISP for breaching telecommunications law. According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Bytecard Pty Ltd and its director were penalised a combined $112,500 for failure to comply with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman scheme and ACMA directions.
1 February 2013
Federal Court finds Bytecard breached Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman scheme
The Australian Communications and Media Authority welcomes today’s Federal Court decision to award $75,000 in civil penalties against Canberra-based internet service provider, Bytecard Pty Ltd and $37,500 against its director, Mr Brian Morris.
The Court found that Bytecard and its director breached the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) scheme, the Telecommunications Act and the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act.
On five occasions between 2006 and 2011, Bytecard failed to comply with TIO determinations and subsequent ACMA directions. Funds were repaid to customers only after the ACMA commenced Federal Court proceedings last year.
Justice Foster has ordered Bytecard to implement a compliance program and Mr Morris to attend a compliance seminar with respect to their TIO scheme obligations. Bytecard and Mr Morris are also required to pay the ACMA’s costs.
Justice Foster stated that the contraventions were very serious. “The provision of telecommunications services is a very important feature of modern society. There are many organisations involved in the provision of those services at various levels. The need for those organisations which deal directly with the public to behave in a manner which complies with relevant statutory provisions, the terms of their contracts and appropriate professional standards is obvious.”
‘Justice Foster’s decision serves as a reminder to telecommunications service providers of whatever business model and wherever they sit in the value chain that compliance with the TIO scheme is not negotiable,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘The ACMA commenced proceedings against Bytecard and its director in line with the undertaking it gave as part of the ACMA’s Reconnecting the Customer public inquiry that the ACMA will take regulatory action when required against non-compliant telecommunications companies.’
The TIO scheme offers a fast, free alternative dispute resolution service to residential and small business customers of all Australian phone and internet service providers.