ACMA eyes pre-paid call card provider crackdown

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is eyeing a crackdown on pre-paid call card providers, issuing a formal warning to two companies for misleading consumers.

According to the ACMA, Skink Marketing, which operates the website that sells the 1300 Woolies calling card, and Lime Telecom failed to provide adequate critical information summaries with their products, as required by the new Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP).

The code requires a telco to essentially list an easy-to-understand manner exactly what consumers are getting when they purchase a particular service.

The move follows research from the consumer watchdog the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), which revealed that pre-paid call cards are failing to keep up with the regulations set out by the TCP last year.

“We believe that unless regulators are prepared to pro-actively monitor the calling card industry and enforce existing consumer protections, consumers can have little confidence they are getting a good deal when they use these products,” ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin said in a statement.

“Prepaid calling card providers should be required to register and meet basic requirements so that shonky operators are stamped out of Australia.”