The change in jurisdiction means a change in process.
From 1 July 2013, the TIO can handle complaints where the consumer became aware of the complaint event up to 6 years before coming to the TIO.
This includes existing issues we previously turned away because of our current time limit of two years.
The TIO will handle new complaints in three different ways, depending on their age.
When the consumer became aware of the complaint event up to two years before contacting the TIO
Any complaint where the consumer became aware of the complaint event less than two years ago is in jurisdiction and will be handled according to standard procedure.
When the consumer became aware of the complaint event more than six years before contacting the TIO
Any complaint where the consumer became aware of the complaint event more than six years ago is out of jurisdiction. We will not handle the complaint and will register an enquiry.
When the consumer became aware of the complaint event two to six years before contacting the TIO
Any complaint where the consumer became aware of the complaint event two to six years ago will follow a new process:
- The TIO will refer the complaint to you (similar to a Level 1 referral), but only register an Enquiry; this means there will be no direct charge.
- You will have 20 working days to resolve the complaint, instead of the usual 10.
- If a consumer returns after 20 working days with an unresolved complaint, we will not deal with the complaint immediately. Instead we will:
- ask the consumer for specific information about why it took so long for them to bring the complaint to the TIO
- give you the opportunity to see the consumer’s response and give your view
- if required, give the consumer a copy of your response for further comment, and
- assess all information against the following principle:
The TIO is likely to continue handling the complaint where it can be shown that strict compliance with the two-year time limit would cause injustice to the consumer, taking into account:
- the nature and history of the complaint
- the conduct of the consumer and the Member, and
- the consequences to both if the TIO continues to handle the complaint or not.
The TIO Manager will have regard to criteria including:
- the explanation for the delay
- any prejudice handling the complaint will cause the Member
- the merits of the complaint, and
- what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.
- The TIO will then decide whether to handle the complaint further (as a conciliation at Level 2), or alternatively that the complaint will not be handled further. In the short term, this decision will be made by the Ombudsman, Deputy Ombudsman, Principal Investigator or Policy Manager.
- We will let you know the outcome of the decision in writing – separate from any correspondence commencing a conciliation if we decide to handle the complaint further.
For any decision not made by the Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman, you have the right of review.
The review process is the same as the review you can ask for when we have turned down a reclassification request.
You can also ask for a reclassification if we have not followed procedure correctly, e.g.:
- a two-to-six year complaint was referred as a Level 1 Complaint instead of an Enquiry
- the complaint was escalated to Level 2 without a discretionary decision being made.
Please contact your account manager for any clarification you may need.
Updated complaint handling procedures will be available from 1 July 2013: