The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has released a new app for iPhone and Android. Dog and Bone strongly recommends downloading it, especially since it’s free.
The app, which is called Phone Rights, is a multi-purpose package that aims to empower users by providing knowledge, whilst also streamlining the process of registering and tracking complaints, and resolving disputes.
There is a rather extensive 'Tips & Advice' section, which provides handy guides across a dozen categories, including such things as avoiding billshock, how to create secure passwords, and tips for travelling overseas with your phone. Some of this material is duplicated in the 'Phone / Internet Problems?' section, although there's no harm in that. The whole thing is designed to be as helpful as possible.
There is a video guide section that covers some of the same issues, enhanced by the addition of a handsome young man with a mellifluous voice. This section also features an address from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). This functions as an endorsement of sorts.
In the hope of enabling consumers to properly log complaints, there are sections to assist with contacting the TIO, and a central hub (My Complaints) from which to report and manage the entire complaints process. This provides fairly streamlined methods to contact your provider – including contact details, social media links, and access to online lodgement forms.
There is also a handy function whereby you can record your current mobile coverage level, and then log it with your provider. This is slightly more effective in the Android version, which tests your signal strength, logs it, and emails your provider from within the app. The iPhone version merely takes a screenshot of your signal strength bars, which is less useful, since those bars can often mean nothing.
Given that Phone Rights cleaves so closely to Dog and Bone’s vision for the Australian telecommunications and IT space, we kind of wish we’d released it ourselves. Then again, it’s hard to begrudge ACCAN anything. It is a tremendous organisation, whose tireless advocacy on behalf of consumers yields tangible benefits. We strongly recommend you download this app. It might save you hours of stuffing around, or it might save you thousands of dollars.