Return to 10-day timeframe a positive sign for complaint handling | The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
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Return to 10-day timeframe a positive sign for complaint handling

Summary
From Thursday 1 October 2020, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman will return to a 10-day timeframe for telcos to respond to non-urgent complaints. This is a positive sign that supports the way telco industry is managing phone and internet complaints after six months of upheaval.

From Thursday 1 October 2020, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman will return to a 10-day timeframe for telcos to respond to non-urgent complaints. This is a positive sign that supports the way telco industry is managing phone and internet complaints after six months of upheaval.

On 25 March 2020, Ombudsman Judi Jones declared a disaster under our Business Continuity Plan, and temporarily changed the timeframe for telcos to respond to a non-urgent complaint from 10 days to 15 days. This allowed complaints from vulnerable and at-risk consumers and small businesses to be prioritised by the telcos. It also gave telcos time to put their own business continuity plans in place while continuing to respond to complaints.

Our recent systemic investigation “Impact of COVID-19 on phone and internet complaints” showed the telco industry is generally coping well with the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. After six months of lockdowns and limitations, and adjusting to how we work and connect, Australia is living in a “new normal” for the foreseeable future. This is the right time to begin a carefully managed return to 10-day response times while continuing to deliver a fair and effective complaint resolution service for consumers and the telecommunications industry.

How it will work

Starting Thursday 3 September, we will gradually reduce the time a provider has to resolve a new TIO complaint to the standard time of 10 business days. The referral time will gradually decrease a day a week over five weeks. This gradual return means we can assess the impact of the change on consumers and providers, and also consider the current pandemic situation. If necessary, we may pause the decrease for a period.

Rollback schedule

Date Time for telcos to respond to a complaint
Thursday 3 September to 9 September 2020 14 business days
Thursday 10 September to 16 September 2020 13 business days
Thursday 17 September to 23 September 2020 12 business days
Thursday 24 September to 30 September 2020 11 business days
Thursday 1 October onward 10 business days