Skip to main content

Prioritising complaints from vulnerable and at-risk residential consumers and small businesses

Summary
As the cascade effects of the COVID-19 pandemic impact Australia’s phone and internet, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is preparing for the expected increase in urgent complaints from vulnerable and at-risk residential consumers and small businesses.

As the cascade effects of the COVID-19 pandemic impact Australia’s phone and internet, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is preparing for the expected increase in urgent complaints from vulnerable and at-risk residential consumers and small businesses.  

Helping vulnerable and at-risk consumers residential consumers and small businesses 

Vulnerable and at-risk residential consumers and small businesses can now call 1800 046 686 or 03 8600 8308 for assistance with unresolved phone and internet complaints.  

Vulnerable and at-risk issues for residential consumers are identified as:  

  • having a serious medical condition, or a registered priority assistance service, 
  • not having an ongoing mobile or internet issue poses a specific safety risk, or 
  • needing urgent financial hardship support from their provider. 

Vulnerable and at-risk issues for small businesses are identified as:  

  • business’s phone or internet services completely or partly unusable, or  
  • business’s phone or internet outage may cause harm to others. 

Helping with non-urgent complaints from residential consumers and small businesses 

For residential consumers and small businesses who have an unresolved phone or internet complaint that is not urgent, please call 1800 062 058 or lodge the complaint online.

Phone and internet providers are currently facing unprecedented pressure and demand for their services, and in turn, their customers are increasingly reliant on being connected. Consumers have a better chance of getting a non-urgent complaint resolved if providers have an opportunity to address the complaint before it is escalated to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. 

From Thursday 26 March 2020 the timeframe for providers to respond to non-urgent complaint referrals from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has been extended from 10 to 15 daysThe timeframe for providers to respond to urgent complaints from vulnerable and at-risk consumers remains unchanged at two business days.  

We’re in this together  

Ombudsman Judi Jones said, “I understand the frustration of having an unresolved phone or internet complaint at the best of times. We are all facing challenges and are in this together. Please be patient as we try to help those consumers and small businesses who are most in need of assistance.  

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.