Refusal to join or failure to comply with the TIO Scheme
Under Sections 128 and 132 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Services Standards) Act 1999, all carriers and eligible carriage service providers have a legal obligation to join and comply with the Scheme.
This Document sets out how the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman deals with:
- Failure or refusal by a carrier or carriage service provider to join the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Scheme
- Failure of a member of the Scheme to comply with the Terms of Reference or Complaint Handling Procedures.
Failure to join the Scheme
If we become aware that a carrier or carriage service provider is not a Member, but should be, we contact that organisation and ask it become a Member by joining the Scheme.
We will send all necessary forms to the organisation and answer any questions it has about membership.
We expect the organisation to join the Scheme within 5 business days of our request.
If the organisation has not made an application to join the scheme after 5 business days, we will send a reminder and give another 5 business days to complete the process of joining. The reminder will warn the organisation that we will refer it to the ACMA if it does not join the scheme within the additional 10 business days.
If an organisation refuses to join the Scheme or does not respond within 10 business days of our request for it to join the Scheme, we will refer the organisation to the ACMA.
Membership and case fees
All Members are charged Membership fees annually.
When a Member’s Membership fee is $400 or less, we will invoice the Member:
- In July, if the Member is a Member on 30 June of calendar year , or
- Within 30 days of the Member joining the Scheme, if the Member joins on or after 1 July of the calendar years.
When a Member’s Membership fee is more than $400, we will invoice the Member quarterly.
Case fees are charged monthly for:
- Unresolved cases closed after further work (re-referral, Fast Track, Conciliation or Investigation).
Invoices are payable 30 days from issue.
If a Member fails to pay an invoice for a Membership fee, or to enter into a payment arrangement with us, we may do all or any of the following:
- Report the failure to pay to a Credit Reporting Bureau
- Commence legal proceedings to recover the amount owing
- Report the failure to pay the invoice to the ACMA.
Non compliance with the Terms of Reference or Complaint Handling Procedures
Members of the Scheme are required to comply with the Terms of Reference and Complaint Handling procedures.
Examples of non-compliance include:
- Commencing or threatening to commence proceedings against a consumer who makes a complaint to the TIO in any court or Tribunal after we inform the provider about the complaint (whether by way of a Referral or Enquiry Referral)
- Charging the consumer a fee for handling a complaint
- Responding to a complaint we refer to the Member by terminating or threatening to terminate the consumer’s services.
- Offering to resolve a matter, only on condition that the consumer withdraw the complaint or waive their rights to make complaints in future
- Not responding to our requests for information about a complaint
- Refusing or repeatedly failing to give us information or evidence that we ask for about a complaint
- Not complying with:
- an Ombudsman Decision or Direction
- a Temporary Ruling, or
- A recommended resolution of a systemic issue.
When we believe that a member has failed to comply with any of its obligations, we will write to the Member and ask it to show us evidence within 5 business days that it has complied and warn that we may refer the non-compliance to the ACMA or the ACCC.
If the Member refuses to comply or does not respond to us within 5 business days, we will refer the Member to either or both of the ACMA and ACCC.
We may publishing details of non-compliance
If we have referred a Member or organisation to the ACMA or ACCC, we may publish details of the non-compliance, identifying the Member or organisation.
We can publish this information in any forum we consider appropriate, including:
- our Annual Report
- on our website
- in a Member News bulletin.
We may also issue a media statement, if we reasonably believe the Organisation's conduct has or may result in significant consumer detriment.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Australian Communications and Media Authority
A member of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman scheme
A fee for the referral or handling of a complaint about a Member.
The annual membership fee charged to the Member. The fee may be billed quarterly or annually and is payable 30 days from the date of the invoice.
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman scheme