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MacTel warns telcos to fix problems before Royal Commission happens

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Macquarie Telecom has welcomed news of rising consumer complaints statistics to the Ombudsman because it "reveals that the practices being used within the telecoms industry to date are not working".

According to Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton, generic industry-wide regulations and consumer protection rules have not helped the banking industry, as shown by the Financial Services Royal Commission.

Clifton said responsibility should instead be put back on how each company will take steps to lower consumer complaints, before a telco Royal Commission ends up being called.

"Collective punishment through sweeping rule and regulation changes is not the answer now -- it has never worked in other industries," Clifton argued.

"Forcing those who are the worst offenders to fix their own problems, and then holding their feet to the fire, is the only short-term solution, and potentially the beginning of solving the deep issues of the industry before it faces its own Royal Commission."

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield had earlier on Tuesday announced the review of telco consumer safeguards, noting that "the existing model for complaints handling and redress is not working".

"We can't just blame the NBN for that," Macquarie Telecom added. "Ombudsman Judi Jones herself this morning on television said that she is more concerned with the three quarters of complaints not related to the NBN."

The announcement followed the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) revealing that consumer complaints about the National Broadband Network (NBN) rose by 204 percent[1] year on year to 22,827 for the first half of the year.

In total, the TIO received 84,914 complaints about all telecommunications services during the six months to December 31, up 28.7 percent year on year.

"Like banking, it is the more competitive 'challenger businesses' in the telecoms industry

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