The TIO can investigate issues arising from complaints that may affect a large number of consumers as a result of a failure in a service provider’s systems or processes. We identify those “systemic issues” by monitoring complaint data, alerts from our staff and information received from service providers.
When we decide that an issue warrants our intervention we approach the service provider for information and evidence. This part of the process can involve formal written submissions or informal communication such as face to face meetings or conference call discussions.
We will recommend a number of potential solutions and seek undertakings from the service provider to demonstrate they have resolved the systemic issue. Issues are most often resolved at this stage
If the TIO and the provider are unable to negotiate a reasonable solution, we may decide to report the issue to the company CEO or a regulator such as the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) or another relevant authority.
When we have intervened on a systemic issue, we monitor complaints made against the service provider for up to 12 months to determine whether the agreed resolution is reducing complaints.
Recent changes to our systemic investigations procedures assist us to conduct more investigations across a range of issues, within five key stages:
raising an alert of a possible systemic issue as a result of our monitoring of trends and cases Assessment:
deciding whether the issue warrants investigation, including monitoring the issue over a period of time Investigation: we may raise the issue with a service provider informally; assess the issue with specific information received from the service provider as a potential investigation; or investigate formally – a resolution can be reached from any one of these stages Resolution: reaching a solution through negotiation with the provider Reporting: reporting the issue to a regulator, CEO or other agency if no resolution is achieved.
This year, we conducted more than 50 investigations, including matters we acted on informally or formally:
Some key outcomes of those investigations include: