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Remedies in privacy-related complaints

01 July 2014

The TIO can consider a range of remedies, both financial and non-financial, for privacy-related complaints. Depending on the circumstances, remedies may include:

  • an apology from the provider
  • a provider giving access to requested information
  • a provider reducing charges
  • correcting inaccurate personal information
  • compensating for financial loss as a result of a breach, and
  • compensating for injury to feelings and humiliation.

We may also recommend the provider considers improvements to their systems, procedures and staff training.

The remedies considered by the TIO are aligned to those that the Privacy Commissioner can award under the Privacy Act 1988. As a recognised external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme under the new privacy rules, the TIO is required to provide remedies similar to those offered by the Privacy Commissioner.

While most of the remedies are available in other TIO complaints, compensation claims for injury to feelings or humiliation are only dealt with in privacy-related matters. Examples may include:

  • where a consumer's silent number is published and that has a negative impact on them, or
  • if an inaccurate credit listing results in a consumer being rejected for loans or services and they are embarrassed or humiliated as a result.

Threshold criteria that must be present for the TIO to consider a claim made by a consumer for this type of compensation are set out below:

  1. there is an act or practice by a TIO member that interferes with a person’s privacy as per the Privacy Act 1988
  2. the act or practice results in the individual experiencing injury to feelings or humiliation, and
  3. an award of financial compensation is appropriate in the circumstances.

In complaints that meet these criteria, we will ask the provider to consider the consumer's claim for compensation in addition to any other resolution for the complaint. If a settlement cannot be reached, the Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman can determine the amount of compensation to be paid.

Faulty landlines

Case Study - Richard

The owner of a telemarketing business contacted us to make a compensation claim for lost profit.

Next step?              

  • make an online complaint
  • 1800 062 058                
  • Write PO Box 276
    Collins Street West Vic 8007                            
  • National Relay Service Call on 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 062 058            
  • Fax our consumer complaint form to 1800 630 614