The TIO will be able to deal with complaints that a consumer became aware of up to two years before coming to us, up from the current one year time limit, from 1 July 2013.
We will also have discretion to investigate complaints up to six years old, an increase from the current two years permitted under our constitution.
The changes follow a review of the number and nature of enquiries we could not deal with because they were out of time. Our research found that several hundred complaints were out of jurisdiction each year because consumers had known about the complaints for longer than two years.
“This change will increase the accessibility of the TIO to Australian telecommunications consumers,” Ombudsman Simon Cohen said. “This includes, in particular, consumers who are in financial hardship and those who are the subject of default listings and other credit management actions by telcos.”
Some of the things we will consider before looking into these complaints are:
- the reasons for any delay in making a complaint
- the ongoing impact of the dispute, and
- any disadvantage to the telco as a result of the delay.
The expanded powers follow a review of the TIO’s monetary limits that increased our complaint determination power to $50,000 (up from $35,000), and increased our recommendation power to $100,000 (up from $85,000).