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Help is available for telco consumers experiencing financial hardship

Summary
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman welcomes the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s focus on financial hardship policies for phone and internet consumers, published today, Thursday 2 April 2020, in its “State of play” report.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman welcomes the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s focus on financial hardship policies for phone and internet consumers, published today, Thursday 2 April 2020, in its “State of play” report.

Between July and December 2019 residential consumers and small businesses made 1,883 complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman about debt management in relation to mobile phone services. Additionally, debt management complaints about mobile services featured in the top 10 issues for consumers in this period.   

Commenting on the release of the State of Play report Ombudsman Judi Jones said ”Remaining connected through phone and internet to family, friends and community is critical. The message for people or small businesses at risk of financial hardship is talk to your telco straight away. 

"It is pleasing to see many providers adopting temporary measures to support people who may be facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. I encourage providers offering such support to communicate this clearly on their website.

“If you can’t pay your bills, there are rules in place telcos must follow to support you. Give your telco a chance to work through this with you. If your problem remains unresolved, make a complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. We’re here to help.”

ENDS

Notes to editors 

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, after consultation with the Board, has amended the Complaint Handling Procedures (clause 3.3) allowing these changes to Referral response times during a disaster. 

The updated Complaint Handling Procedures are located on our website at https://www.tio.com.au/about-us/policies-and-procedures#pt3

Media enquiries 

For all media enquiries please contact Sarah Carnovale on 0437 548 540 or mediaenquiries@tio.com.au 

About the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman 

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman provides a free and independent dispute resolution service for residential consumers and small businesses who have an unresolved complaint about their phone or internet service. 

Consumers and small businesses should contact tio.com.au or 1800 062 058. 

 

The Telecommunications Industry Sector 

Government and the regulators set policy and regulations for the telecommunications sector. 

The Telecommunications industry regulators are the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) acma.gov.au Media enquiries to (02) 9334 7719 or media@acma.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC): accc.gov.au. Media enquiries to 1300 138 917 or media@accc.gov.au. After hours 0408 995 408. 

 

Peak Bodies 

Communications Alliance is the peak body for Australian communications industry: commsalliance.com.au. Media enquiries to Sefiani Communications sefiani.com.au or 0431 478 558. 

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) is Australia’s peak communications consumer organisation representing individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit groups as consumers of communications products and services, accan.org.au Media enquiries to 0409 966 931 or 02 9288 4000. 

 

Acknowledgement of Country 

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects  
to Elders past, present and emerging, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples from all nations of this land.