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Joining the scheme

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Limited (the TIO) is the not-for-profit company that runs the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman scheme (TIO scheme).

We are here to resolve complaints from consumers as quickly as possible, to work with members, help members improve their service, and reduce the complaints members receive.

We do this by: 

  • providing every opportunity for members to resolve complaints with customers;   
  • making available regular detailed reports about the types of complaints members are receiving to identify areas of improvement;   
  • providing information about best practice complaint handling procedures and member legal obligations;   
  • undertaking systemic investigations to identify issues that may affect many consumers; and   
  • providing regular updates informing members about changes in our processes and the law.   

Joining the TIO Scheme

Under Sections 128 and 132 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Services Standards) Act 1999 (TCPSS Act), all carriers and eligible carriage service providers must join and comply with the TIO Scheme. 

This document sets out how the TIO deals with: 

  • Failure or refusal by a carrier or carriage service provider to join the TIO Scheme; and 
  • Failure of a member of the Scheme to comply with the TIO Scheme.

Membership Application Form

Failure or refusal 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 to become a member by joining the TIO 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 TIO Scheme within 5 business days of our request.   

If the organisation has not applied to join the TIO 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 Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) if it does not join the TIO Scheme within the additional 10 business days. 

If an organisation refuses to join the TIO Scheme or does not respond within 10 business days of our request for it to join the TIO Scheme, we will refer the organisation to the ACMA.

Failure to comply with the TIO Scheme 

Upon joining the TIO Scheme, carriers and carriage service providers become members. Members agree to be bound by and to comply with the TIO Constitution, which incorporates the TIO Terms of Reference. 

Members are required to comply with the requirements of the TIO Scheme, including the payment of fees.  

TIO’s Operational Costs (annual membership fees and case fees) are determined by the TIO Board in accordance with the Constitution of the TIO. Failure to pay fees within the required timeframes constitutes non-compliance with the TIO Scheme. (See section 132 of the TCPSS Act.) If members do not pay our fees within the required timeframes, we may refer those members for debt recovery. In those circumstances, TIO may take further action including:  

•    credit default listing; 

•    issuing legal proceedings; and 

•    referral for non-compliance with the TIO scheme to the ACMA.