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Reclassification FAQs

Reclassification Request form

How do I submit a reclassification request?

You should submit your reclassification request online. If you require any assistance completing or submitting your reclassification request please email the Reclassifications Team.

How will I know if the TIO has received my reclassification request?

After you successfully submit your reclassification request you will receive an acknowledgement email.

Supporting documents

What kind of supporting documents should I provide with my reclassification request?

You should provide documents that support your reasons for requesting the reclassification. They should be complete unmodified copies of original documents. Generally, this would mean screenshots or time-stamped file copies from your information systems.

Example: If your records show that a complaint about a disputed charge was resolved before the consumer contacted the TIO; provide a time-stamped screenshot of your system notes showing that you have reversed the disputed charge and communicated this to the consumer.

Grounds for reclassification

The answers below provide broad guidance on our approach to reclassification requests. To decide on the merits of each reclassification request, we carefully review the complaint information on file and refer to the TIO Terms of Reference and Complaint Handling Procedures.

Can I request reclassification if the consumer did not contact me about the complaint before TIO referral?

Yes. We would only classify a matter as a Level 1 Referral if the consumer says they made a complaint to you first. The complaint can be made verbally or in writing. If a consumer says they emailed a complaint to you, we would consider them to have contacted you about the complaint.

If we confirm that the consumer did not make a complaint to you before coming to us, we would reclassify the complaint, refer TIO Terms of Reference clause 2.5.

Can I request reclassification if I disagree with the consumer’s version of events?

No. If there is disagreement about the nature of a problem, what caused it or how to fix it, this would confirm that there is an ongoing problem that needs to be resolved, and that it is appropriate for us to register a complaint and refer it to you. We would not reclassify a Level 1 Referral because you and the consumer disagree on the substance of the complaint.

Can I request reclassification if I resolved a complaint before the TIO registered a complaint?

We would consider reclassification if there was a delay between a consumer making a complaint and the TIO registering a complaint and the complaint was resolved before that delay.

There are no grounds for reclassification where:

  • it is clear that the consumer did not regard their complaint as resolved at the time they made their complaint to the TIO and you mistakenly believe that the complaint is resolved to the consumer’s satisfaction, or
  • you have provided a consumer’s requested resolution but have not adequately communicated this to the consumer. If the consumer is not informed about a resolution, then we would not consider the complaint to have been resolved.

Can I request reclassification if I resolved a complaint after TIO referral but did not contact the consumer to communicate the outcome before the TIO recorded the complaint?

No. Informing the consumer of the outcome is part of resolving the complaint. When we refer a complaint, we ask you to contact the consumer to explore options to resolve the complaint, and to resolve the complaint with them within a set timeframe. If the consumer is not informed about a resolution, then we would not consider the complaint to have been resolved. 

Can I request reclassification if the complaint is about something the TIO does not handle?

Yes. We would reclassify a Level 1 Referral if we confirm that it is about a type of issue we do not handle. These are listed under TIO Terms of Reference clauses 2.10 and 2.11.

Examples: the prices you charge for products and services, or cabling beyond the end of a telecommunications network.

Can I request reclassification from Level 1 to Enquiry if the resolution after TIO referral was the same as offered before referral, i.e. before the complaint came to the TIO?

No. The complaint was registered as a Level 1 Referral because the consumer did not initially accept the offer. If a consumer accepts your original offer after TIO referral, this would suggest that the consumer gained a better understanding of the offer as a result of information provided by the TIO during referral, and/or during your discussion with the consumer after TIO referral.

Can I request reclassification from Level 2 to Level 1 (or Level 3 to Level 2) if the resolution of the complaint was the same as the offer made before progression to Conciliation or Investigation?

No. In Conciliation or Investigation the TIO will assess whether a proposed resolution is fair and reasonable. Our assessment may be that either your, the consumer’s, or both perspectives have merit, but this will not be confirmed before the assessment is completed.

If the outcome of a Conciliation or Investigation supports your perspective, we are likely to stop handling a complaint at that point, but it is not grounds for reclassification (TIO Terms of Reference clause 3.20).

Can I prevent a Level 2 complaint if I send the TIO all the evidence after TIO referral?

No. And we discourage service providers forwarding information to us about complaints that we refer unless we contact you to request information; an exception is where you cannot contact the consumer (see below).

Our role at referral is to receive, clarify and then forward details about an unresolved complaint including the issues of the complaint and the requested resolution. While we set realistic expectations for consumer in respect of their complaints, our involvement at the referral stage does not extend to extensive assessment of information.

If the consumer is not satisfied with the outcome you have offered after a TIO referral and recontact us, the matter may progress to Conciliation. Sometimes, before we commence conciliation, we may ask for information from the consumer and from you. The purpose of these requests is to assist us in most effectively identifying the issues and possible resolutions relevant to the complaint. As a matter of fairness though, we will not undertake a detailed assessment of other information or evidence provided by you (or the consumer) until we have both the consumer’s and your account of the complaint, and information about your attempts to resolve the complaint as part of conciliation.

Can I request reclassification from Level 2 to Level 1 if I could not contact the consumer after the TIO referral?

We would consider reclassification if:

  • you can show that after you received our referral you tried contacting the consumer at least 3 times, then advised the consumer in writing how to contact you about their complaint, and also copied us into that communication (via nocontact@tio.com.au), and
  • the consumer is not able to provide information showing that they made reasonable attempts to contact you after receiving your written communication.

Can I request reclassification if the complaint issue is something that only the wholesaler or carrier of the telecommunications service can resolve, not a retail service provider?

No. Customers have no direct relationship with telecommunications wholesalers, whereas retail service providers will have contractual arrangements with one or more wholesalers. It follows that retail service providers are responsible for resolving the complaints of their customers. This approach is also found in regulations such as the Customer Service Guarantee Standard, where the onus is on resellers to contact their customers directly.

Will the TIO reclassify a complaint if it was made to a store instead of a customer service area?

No. A consumer can make a complaint to a provider either directly or through a provider’s representative. Representatives include staff of stores and other sales outlets, and other agents such as debt collection agents (TIO Terms of Reference clause 2.5).

Can I request reclassification if the consumer did not give the TIO the provider’s complaint reference number?

No. We will ask a consumer if they have the provider’s complaint reference number but when consumers contact the TIO they may not have this information with them.

Can I request reclassification if the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or is not made in good faith?

The TIO considers each matter brought to us on its own particular merits. If a matter falls within our jurisdiction set out in the TIO Terms of Reference, and the consumer says they made a complaint to you first, the TIO will classify the matter as a Level 1 Referral.

The fact that a complaint may appear to have little merit will not normally be enough to justify reclassification.

However, there may be exceptional cases where in our view a complaint is clearly without any merit. In those cases, we would reclassify the complaint.

Faulty landlines

Case Study - Richard

The owner of a telemarketing business contacted us to make a compensation claim for lost profit.

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