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Tech Talk Radio Show 31 of 2011
Transmission date: August 1, 2011
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Ep 31 of 2011
August 1

It may or may not surprise you with the Australian consumer watch dog, the ACCC taking to telco’s in this country with a big stick, some are actually falling in line, including the biggest recalcitrant, Telstra. But is seeing believing?

It was reported in the media last week that Telstra has started providing customers with a "summary of offer" document laying out the true cost of taking a new telecommunications service and it looks like Primus and VHA will be doing the same.

According to the report, In a plan agreed to by industry and coordinated by the Communications Alliance, a summary document would be presented to new customers online or at the point of sale in lieu of fine print that was normally worked into advertisements.

The summary included information on the monthly access price, additional charges, plan inclusions and exclusions, contract length, exit fees, termination dates and eligibility requirements.

In public submissions to ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority's Reconnecting the Customer inquiry, Telstra said it provided the summary in-store, on its website and by mail to customers who requested more information, but it may not be presented at every customer interaction - including those over the phone or on a phone bill - and whether it would lead to "disclosure fatigue" for the customer.

Telstra wrote in its submission that "In some cases, the customer may already have done their research online or gone in-store to obtain a summary of offer for the plan they are interested in taking up, but the supplier will not know definitively if this is the case"

Old Telstra Payphone

Despite several submissions pointing to an ACCC undertaking with major telcos in 2009 over reforming advertising practices, the extent to which customers would go to read the fine print included in advertisements, on websites or in the proposed summaries had been dragged as arguments into several prominent Federal Court cases.

As technology changes so frequently, and the goal posts have a tendency of moving all by themselves, it may pay to become familiar with the true cost of the service your about to subscribe to. The ACCC is pushing for supermarket style pricing for telecommunications products so we can all make an educated decision on our purchase, so hopefully with clear pricing and true costs, we may see the end of the horrific cap offers which have proliferated over the past decade or so, after all, its caps which hide the true value of a purchase.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

Firstly a big warm welcome to stations now taking Tech Talk Radio on the Community Radio Network. Tech Talk Radio has been on the airwaves for the past seven years and is truly an independent tech talk show, and on this weeks show…  Apple becomes the world’s top smartphone vendor and patents a new keyless keyboard, Optus bids for home phones with the launch of femtocells, Google offers to rewrite the web in an effort to make it faster, as well, the goggle streetcars will be doing another pass of Australian streets in the not too distant future and Adam takes a look at the HP touchpad.

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