Resolving complaints

Systemic issues

Acting on non compliance

Effective outcomes

Understanding the causes of complaints

Improving the way we resolve complaints

Effective outcomes

The Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman can issue a binding Determination up to the value of $30,000 if a complaint is not resolved through our processes of referral, conciliation or investigation. Our Determinations are binding on service providers.

Before we issue a Determination we will notify the service provider of a Preliminary View, which outlines our findings and our preliminary position about what would be a fair and reasonable resolution to the complaint.

Determinations in 2010-11

Very few Determinations are issued each year. Generally the parties are likely to resolve the disputes at an earlier stage of the complaint handling process. In 2010-11, we issued seven determinations.

In our submission to the DBCDE discussion paper about the TIO, we noted that for the small number of service providers who exhibit consistent non-compliant behaviour, a stronger enforcement regime may be needed. Currently, non-compliance will result in referral to the ACMA for consideration of an enforcement action. However, some additional steps could be considered, including:

ISSUE
DECISION OUTCOME
 DATE
Disconnection in error, CSG compensation and lost credits from a bundled finance agreement. Consumer is entitled to CSG compensation and a refund of $2,900.
The service provider did not comply and is now in liquidation March 2011
Liability for charges following unauthorised transfers of a landline service. Service provider to waive all charges and reimburse $1,152 in payments made by consumer. The service provider did not comply. The TIO in is the process of referring the member to the ACMA. February 2011
Liability for charges following unauthorised transfers of a landline service. Service provider to waive all charges and reimburse $560 in payments made by consumer. The service provider did not comply. The TIO in is the process of referring the member to the ACMA.
Liability for charges following unauthorised transfers of a landline service. Service provider to waive all charges and reimburse $699 in payments made by consumer. The service provider did not comply. The TIO in is the process of referring the member to the ACMA. February 2011
Excess usage charges; adequacy of credit control tools; financial over-commitment.
Service provider to refund $735, being half the disputed excess usage charges. The service provider did not comply. The TIO in is the process of referring the member to the ACMA. December 2010
Unfair contract terms; automatic renewal clause; applicability of TCP Code to business customers; how TIO uses industry codes to make decisions. Direction and recommendation that service provider waive an early termination fee of $19,000. The service provider complied. August 2010
Whether a prepaid international calling service has performed to the standard promised at the point of sale. Service provider to refund $86 to consumer. The service provider did not comply and has been referred to the ACMA. July 2010

Case study

Stephen’s complaint