Ōtepoti – The Commerce Commission is seeking feedback on proposals that would make it easier for Kiwi consumers to compare teleco products and providers.
The difficulty of comparing plans and providers is a major factor behind customer dissatisfaction and complaints. This needs to change so consumers can more readily make comparisons to get the best deal for them.
The consultation process on the issue is part of the commission’s wider drive to improve telecommunications retail service quality.
They are focusing on making offers, costs, contracts and coverage more readily comparable between competing mobile and broadband providers.
Competition between different technologies and providers is delivering more choice than ever before, but it’s not always easy to compare different plans and providers on a like-for-like basis.
The commission does not want consumers signing up for one provider’s offer because it wasn’t easy for them to compare it with other offers that might have been better for them.
For this reason, they are proposing a more standardised approach to marketing information so consumers can make more confident choices about their connectivity.
The Commission wants to see upfront disclosure of key information including:
• The average monthly cost of services – consumers need to know, for example, that signing up to a 28-day plan means they pay 13 times a year, rather than 12
• The cost of energy services included in broadband bundles – consumers need to know whether electricity and gas charges in these bundles are higher than market rates, because this can quickly reduce the benefit of any upfront broadband discount
• The total costs of the contract – consumers need to be given a summary of all the costs relating to a deal, before signing-up, so there are no surprises later
• Mobile coverage – consumers need to be given comparable coverage information so they have a clear view of what service they can expect with different providers at their location.
The commission also wants providers to produce standardised contract summaries so that comparing services is easier. They want them to standardise the way they calculate and report on their customer numbers, ensuring a more accurate reflection of competition in the market.
Improvements to telecommunications marketing will enable consumers to make more meaningful comparisons and informed choices.
The commission welcomes feedback from everyone, including industry, consumer groups and consumers, so we can start putting the right solutions in place.