Consumer's Right to a Review
The purpose of these Procedures is to ensure:
- procedural fairness in our handling of matters, and
- that the consumer has the opportunity to confirm that:
- the matter has been handled in accordance with TIO Complaint Handling Procedures
- available information required to make a decision has been collected
- available information relevant to a decision has been addressed, and
- all decisions have been made by us with regard to relevant laws, good practice, TIO Position Statements and what is fair and reasonable.
Consumers have the right to ask for a Review of any decision made by a TIO Officer, other than a decision made by the Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman.
The right to Review is to ensure that:
- the decision was made based on available information, with regard to relevant laws, good practice, and what is fair and reasonable, and
- the consumer has an opportunity to address whether he or she has been prejudiced by our decision to stop handling the matter.
If a Complaint involves multiple issues, and the Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman has made a decision about some but not all of the issues, the consumer can ask for a Review of any decision where the Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman was not involved.
Reviews are conducted internally by specialised Review Officers who have not had prior involvement in the matter and who are independent of the consumer, the provider and TIO dispute resolution staff involved in the matter.
Each letter or email we send advising that we will stop handling a Complaint offers the consumer the option to have that decision reviewed.
A Review does not usually involve further investigation of the Complaint by the Review Officer.
When we make a decision:
- to register a matter as an Enquiry because we consider it to be out of jurisdiction
- not to handle a matter, or
- to stop handling a Complaint, at any classification Level for any reason, including where our view is that a fair and reasonable resolution has been offered by the provider,
we will offer the consumer the option to request a Review of the decision if the consumer is dissatisfied with that decision.
When we offer the consumer the option to request a Review, we will encourage the consumer to respond within the relevant timeframes before closure of the matter.
When the consumer requests a Review within this timeframe, we will refer the matter to a TIO Review Officer.
When the consumer responds outside the relevant timeframe, we will consider whether the request is reasonable, with regard to:
- the length of time since the timeframe expired
- the context of the request
- if the Review would compromise procedural fairness to all parties, for example, where the consumer has not paid a charge that we decided was valid and payable, but then requests a Review without providing new information and asks that credit management action be stopped, and
- if, due to the delay in requesting the Review, reviewing the Complaint would not change the practical effects of the outcome already achieved, for example when a provider is no longer a member of the TIO Scheme, or if there is no longer any detriment to the consumer.
When we decline a request for a Review, we will notify the consumer in writing, give reasons for the decision and advise of any other avenues of recourse the consumer may have.
When a request for a Review is accepted, the consumer will be notified in writing. The provider will be notified in writing if the Complaint is at Level 2 or above.
The notification to the consumer includes:
- the purpose of the Review
- the estimated length of time before the Review is completed
- a summary of the Review process
- possible outcomes of the Review and their effect on the Enquiry or Complaint, and
- reminders that:
- the Review is the final step in the TIO process
- the consumer must continue to pay undisputed charges, and
- the consumer may contact us to discuss the notification letter.
The notification to the provider includes:
- the estimated length of time before the Review is completed
- a reminder to stop credit management action on disputed amounts for the duration of the Review, and
- advice that we may contact the provider for more information
The Review Officer reopens Enquiries and Complaints for the purpose and duration of a Review.
We expect the provider to stop credit management action on any disputed amounts for the duration of the Review.
The Review Officer reviews the decision by examining all information provided by the provider and consumer, and all notes in the Complaint Record.
The Review Officer reviews the information and Record to assess:
- how TIO Complaint Handling Procedures were applied
- whether sufficient information and evidence to make the decision was collected, and
- whether the decision was made having regard to:
- relevant laws
- good practice
- TIO Position Statements, and
- what is fair and reasonable.
Where the Review Officer decides that the decision under Review will not be upheld, he or she may, at his or her discretion:
- reclassify an Enquiry as a Complaint
- recommend further investigation of a Complaint by an appropriate TIO Officer, or
- negotiate an outcome with the provider that is more acceptable to the consumer if in his or her view the outstanding matters are simple and relatively minor, and where returning the Complaint for formal investigation would be onerous and unnecessary.
Where the Review Officer decides that the decision under Review will be upheld, he or she will advise the consumer of other avenues of recourse.
Where the Review Officer considers there are exceptional circumstances, he or she may give the consumer an opportunity to present new evidence if, in his or her view, this evidence may significantly change the outcome of the Review.
In all circumstances when the Review Officer decides that the decision under Review will be upheld without further investigation, he or she will notify the outcome of the Review to the consumer in writing. We will then close the Complaint.
When we close the Complaint after the Review we will notify the provider in writing.
If the consumer remains dissatisfied with the outcome of the Review, we will advise him or her to seek alternative avenues of recourse.
Effective Date: 5 July 2010
Updated on: 30 June 2016