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Telco consumers are living in "confusopoly": regulator
02/06/2011 - Australian telecommunications users are living in a "confusopoly" in which "bill shock" is common and advertising practices can be misleading, an industry regulator says.
Many consumers do not and cannot fully understand the services that they purchase, nor do they comprehend charging arrangements, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said in a draft report on Wednesday.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said consumers were "long suffering and very frustrated".
"Confusopoly has been a reality," Chapman said at the release of the report, which follows a year long inquiry into the industry's customer service and complaint handing problems.
The federal government agency is recommending a slew of changes, such as expenditure tools for consumers so they can monitor their costs and the introduction of improved disclosure information about the charges associated with plans.
ACMA also wants to prohibit what it says are misleading advertising practises, such as the use of the term `cap' on mobile and broadband plans.
"It's not a cap, it's not a maximum it's a minimum," Chapman said.
"We want to prohibit that unless its a genuine hard cap, so that if you exceed your limit the service ends or you get the opportunity to upgrade."