We understand that every customer has individual needs and circumstances which necessitate a flexible approach in the way that we serve and support them.
We’re also concerned about the risks that customers face as they use telecommunications. These include falling victim to scams and theft or online abuse, as well as broader issues of mental wellbeing associated with using digital services.
We aim to do business in a way that puts our customers first – taking care of our customers as they use our products and services. That’s why we’re focused on responding to the diverse needs of all of our customers, as well as helping our customers to stay safe online and protecting their privacy and security.
We believe this is the right thing to do, and recognise that this is fundamental to maintain the trust of our stakeholders over the longer term.
Our commitments include:
- Developing a customer vulnerability policy or framework and identify opportunities for enhancing our services and support for customers experiencing vulnerability.
- Increasing awareness among our customers of ways to avoid falling victim to scams and theft and continuing to improve ways of blocking.
- Collaborating with industry partners to develop a new standard for reducing scam SMS.
- Offering services and support to help and educate families and children to stay safer online as they use our products and services.
Enabling more choice in how customers interact with us
Recognising that our customers want to interact with us in different ways according to their needs, we continue to modernise our digital tools to give customers more choice, and to improve and simplify the customer experience. This includes refreshing our Vodafone website to improve the customer journey, with a particular focus on becoming more mobile-friendly. Improvements include enabling customers to compare plans more easily and a simplified check-out experience. We also launched a new digital assistant, TOBi, a new My TPG app and an improved iiHelp self-support online tool for iiNet customers.
Addressing scams and fraud
We are determined to play our part in protecting people from scams. We work actively with other industry participants through the Communications Alliance, as a member of the Scam Telecommunications Action Taskforce, as well as with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). This resulted in the development and launch of the Reducing Scam Calls Code, which require us and other telecommunications operators to detect, trace and block scam calls.
We’re working hard to combat identify theft. Vodafone was the first Australian telecommunications operator to send alerts to customers warning of an impending port of their number, which commenced in 2012.
More recently, Vodafone led the industry, through the Communications Alliance, to develop a new industry guideline process for pre-port verification whereby an SMS is sent to validate the port of a mobile number before the port can proceed. Since implementation, we have seen a more than 85 per cent reduction in fraudulent ports along with a large reduction in banking fraud and other types of fraud.
We developed new standards for inbound customer authentication and outbound customer communication, requiring two factor authentication for key transactions, and raising awareness among our customers that we would not ask for, and they should not disclose, personal identification information to an unknown party. We also introduced a new two-way SMS arrangement requiring the account holder to verify all new product orders, reducing fraudulent orders by 90 per cent in the first month of implementation.
For customers who do fall victim to identity crime involving their mobile account, we have a specialist team in Hobart that supports them with aspects of reporting and recovery.
We protect our customers and support our customers to use the internet as safely as possible, using the controls we have available. At the time of the 2019 terrorist event in Christchurch, New Zealand, Vodafone led the telecommunications industry in blocking access to abhorrent violent material.
On an ongoing basis, we actively collaborate with authorities including the eSafety Commissioner, the ACMA and the Australian Federal Police, to block websites associated with abhorrent, violent, seriously harmful and criminal activity.
We also provide information on our website to help consumers understand the steps they can take to stay safe online, including responsible parenting in a digital world, and have partnered with Norton™ enabling Vodafone customer access to a range of subscription-based Norton™ digital security and safety products.
Human rights and modern slavery
Our Code of Conduct, sets out our support for human rights consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we respect those rights in conducting our operations in all locations.
Our Supplier Code of Conduct contains requirements with respect to human rights and modern slavery, aligned to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the ten principles of the Global Compact.
We have a zero-tolerance policy against trafficking and activities related to trafficking.
In 2020, working with our industry peers through the Telco Together Foundation, we signed an Australian Telecommunications Leadership Statement on Human Rights and Modern Slavery, committing to work cooperatively to eliminate modern slavery practices where they are identified and to share case studies of best practice.
That statement includes a set of Telecommunications Industry Modern Slavery Leadership Principles, drawing on best practice standards for business conduct set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business Principles and Human Rights.
In June 2021 we published our first Modern Slavery Statement
STEM opportunities for young Indigenous women
In partnership with Goanna Solutions, we are supporting government, academia and industry partners to identify and support STEM opportunities for Indigenous students to address the issue of exclusion from emerging opportunities in STEM fields.
The Dream Connection program was conceived and co-designed through meaningful engagement of TPG Telecom with the First Nations community to inspire young Indigenous women in high school to consider a career in STEM.
The program includes female technology employees from TPG Telecom, and strong Indigenous role models, speaking with students. In its inaugural year, 71 girls from years 7-10 across nine schools have participated in the program, with positive feedback.