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The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) and Exetel Pty Ltd have reached an agreement following mediation in proceedings brought by the service provider against the alternative dispute resolution scheme, the TIO announced today.

The proceedings related to 114 complaints about the service provider logged with the TIO by consumers. The service provider had sought compensation claiming the cases were misclassified by the TIO.

The matter was settled with no payments made by the TIO.

The TIO has agreed to trial a new process for consumers who have been unable to speak with their service provider, to ensure service providers are more aware of complaints made against them in those circumstances. The findings of that trial will be provided to the TIO’s Council, which is made up of industry, consumer and independent representatives.

“The TIO is pleased that the matter has been resolved by way of an agreement reached through mediation,” Ombudsman Simon Cohen said.

“We have resolved the proceedings and also created an opportunity to trial a process that has the potential to benefit consumers and service providers.”

In an agreed joint statement, the parties said:

“The proceeding in the Federal Court brought by Exetel Pty Ltd against the TIO went to mediation on 12 July 2011.

The parties have agreed that for a trial period of three months the TIO will adopt a different procedure for responding to certain complaints, where the complainant advises that they have attempted to call the Member [service provider] and the number is engaged, the complainant was kept waiting or on hold for an unreasonable length of time, or the call was not answered.

“During the trial, complainants will continue to be referred to a senior point of contact with the Member to have their complaints dealt with. Upon the Council’s rendering of its advice to the Ombudsman the proceedings will be dismissed.”