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Breach of privacy case study

17 July 2015

Charlotte’s complaint

Charlotte reported a fault on her mother’s landline to her service provider, giving her own mobile as a contact number.

She then received two calls from different customers, who said they had got an SMS from their provider asking them to call her mobile number, about their own landline faults.

She rang the provider after receiving those calls, and the provider told Charlotte that it had not given out her mobile number. Charlotte did not receive any more calls after that conversation.

What we did

Charlotte called the TIO about what she considered a breach of her privacy. She wanted an explanation and an assurance that the issue would not reoccur.

Charlotte said the provider told her it could not locate any SMS messages, and it would not do anything further. She thought the provider did not give enough information to confirm it had not disclosed her personal information incorrectly. We conciliated the case.


During our conciliation, the provider discovered that one of its staff may have accidentally copied and pasted the consumer’s mobile phone number into an SMS sent to other customers. The provider traced the SMS and confirmed Charlotte’s information had been disclosed.

During the conciliation, Charlotte asked for compensation for the breach of her privacy. The provider offered $500 and removed Charlotte’s details from its systems to ensure the problem did not happen again. Charlotte agreed with this outcome.

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Next step?              

  • make an online complaint
  • 1800 062 058                
  • Write PO Box 276
    Collins Street West Vic 8007                            
  • National Relay Service Call on 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 062 058            
  • Fax our consumer complaint form to 1800 630 614