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The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is the external dispute resolution body for telecommunications consumers and small businesses who are unable to resolve complaints directly with their telco service providers. The TIO has consulted on changes to its Terms of Reference to allow for evolving technologies, changing consumer need and growth of smart devices.

ACCAN’s submission welcomed the proposed changes to the TIO’s remit and Terms of Reference including:

  • an increase in the amount of compensation available to consumers;
  • extending the jurisdiction for complaints and dispute resolution to include smart devices provided by TIO members;
  • allowing more than one service provider to be dealt with in the same complaint to make resolution easier;
  • compensating consumers for non-financial loss; and
  • aligning the TIO’s definition of small business with that in the Australian Consumer Law.

Other changes ACCAN advocated in favour of were:

  • a more transparent complaints resolution process to allow the TIO to monitor resolution by service providers of consumer complaints referred to them by the TIO;
  • an enhanced External Dispute Resolution (EDR) scheme with a built-in industry feedback loop, and more detailed public reporting of telcos in breach to motivate industry change;
  • improved consumer education to help people understand the TIO complaints handling process and how to use it;
  • making the TIO complaints process more accessible for all consumers, including those with disability; and
  • simplifying the Terms of Reference document to make it more consumer friendly.

ACCAN opposed the proposal that consumer compensation, both financial and non-financial, to consumers should be capped at $100,000 as it could prove inadequate and may discourage consumers from making claims.

Download:  docxTIO TOR review 2020 - ACCAN submission85.58 KB
Download:  pdfTIO TOR review 2020 - ACCAN submission274.6 KB