Consumer Safeguards Review – Part A Redress and Complaints Handling
The Government is currently consulting on Part A of the Consumer Safeguards Review. Part A will consider the existing model for consumer redress and complaints handling and proposals to improve outcomes for consumers.
The Department of Communications and the Arts released the Redress and Complaints Handling Discussion Paper on July 5. The Department has invited submissions from individuals, businesses, peak bodies and other interested organisations by 5pm on Friday, 3 August 2018.
The paper can be accessed at: https://www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/internet/consumer-safeguards-review
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman response to Consumer Safeguard Review
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and the Chairman of the Board look forward to contributing to the Telecommunications Consumer Safeguards Review based on our extensive experience.
We believe the assertions and ideas set out in the paper need to be tested.
In particular, we will be testing the propositions that consumers (especially vulnerable consumers) will have the capacity to work with providers in the model being proposed, and that a new body is needed to achieve greater independence in dispute resolution.
It is vital that any change to the complaint handing mechanism ensures that residential consumers and small businesses continue to have access to a fair, independent and effective complaint resolution service.
Making a submission
You can make a submission by visiting: https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/consumer-safeguards-review-consultation-part-consumer-redress-and-complaints-handling Alternatively please email your completed template submission to email@example.com or send it to:
Consumer Safeguards Review
Department of Communications and the Arts
GPO Box 2154
Canberra ACT 2601
The Redress and Complaints Handling Discussion Paper includes three proposals:
Proposal 1: Industry complaints handling
Telecommunications Providers must have and maintain complaint handling policies which detail their processes and procedures for handling customer complaints in compliance with the governing rules.
Proposal 2: External Dispute Resolution
An external Dispute Resolution Body, independent of industry, should be established to deal with complex complaints that are unable to be resolved directly between customers and their providers. Consideration will need to be given to the appropriate governance arrangements to support the body, with its independence being a guiding principle.
Proposal 3: Data collection, analysis and reporting
Responsibility for collection of data relating to industry performance and complaints should be transferred to the ACMA. The ACMA will publish reports detailing the analysis of this data, as well as including complaints data in its annual communications report.
How is the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman funded?
Who owns the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman?
- The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is a not for profit company limited by guarantee and members of the scheme are not shareholders
- Members do not receive payments or profits (for example by way of dividends)
- Membership is compulsory and is required by legislation
- Failure to comply with the requirements of the scheme can result in regulatory enforcement action (by ACMA)