Government looks at changing role of telco industry ombudsman

How to reduce the level of complaints: redefine “complaint”.

"… looking to models in New Zealand and Canada would not make the Australian system better, as the “reason they record so few complaints is because there are contols about what is defined as a complaint”.

“Conversations I have [with telco consumer groups in New Zealand and Canada] suggest a similar level of discontent in both countries to Australia,” she said.

She questioned whether the proposals would “mask” issues from coming up in the complaints statistics …"


From the above article cited by @Drop_Bear :
Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said in a statement that consumers were “fed up with poor service and inadequate safeguards when their telco fails to address a complaint”. He noted Australia’s TIO had more than 158,000 complaints last year.

“The vast majority of complaints received by the TIO are referred back to telcos to be resolved directly with the consumer,” Senator Fifield said. “Fewer than 10 per cent of complaints then come back to the TIO again. This raises an important question – why aren’t telcos resolving these complaints in the first place?

So instead of addressing why the Telcos don’t resolve these issues straight away, the Government is looking at reducing what can be complained about. Simple!


“The Turnbull government is obsessed with who handles and reports on complaints, rather than how you prevent complaints from happening in the first place,” acting shadow minister for communications Stephen Jones said.

Changing what’s regarded as a “complaint” should work :thinking: after a fashion. :unamused:

The government is accepting submissions on its paper until 3 August.


See no evil and hear no evil, then there is no evil. Classic!


Is the result if the TIO is scrapped just moving the work load to the ACCC or state run consumer protection organisations?

On the face of it no!

Instead it is proposed it may be up to the good old consumer to escalate the problem with the provider to get resolution. On my experience “escalate” must be a word that cannot translate properly into Hindi or Spanish? By responses from service staff to date it appears to be simply a polite way of saying “thank you for all you have done”?

Or will the legislation change to allow the Telecommunications industry to contract out of consumer protections? Other than any it chooses to adopt or are set specifically for it. I note that Telecommunications has a special place that in enabling it to function also enables it to be exempt from many of the requirements other industries and business must meet.

Or will a no TIO future leave you no final option other than the courts, who will firstly rely on the letter of the contract and legislation to decide?

Agree the TIO is not the main issue. As has already been suggested the need is finding a solution that enures resolution of all complaints and issues reasonably and to the satisfaction of the consumer. Preferably by not having the need to complain in the first instance. The solution with any change needs to address the root cause in a meaningful and transparent way. The root cause of most of the consumer complaints is not the consumer. “The consumer is always right”. (Although we seemed to get it mostly wrong at election time?)

Instead of giving power and authority to a new name for the TIO that might do much less - it would be simpler to give the existing TIO more resources and authority.

Regardless of how the NBN including the RSP/ISP is managed and owned they exist to provide an essential community and business service. Private and corporate ownership entitles any business to a significant degree of privacy through internal security/confidentiality needs, commercial in confidence dealings and legally privileged advice. Is this reasonable for any business put into an effective monopoly that delivers public infrastructure and services?

Proposition: - The books and dealings of any private enterprise that is delivering a service in such circumstances should be open to the same levels of disclosure, reporting and public scrutiny as any government department. This should include opening its books to the auditor general and government at all times. It should stay that way until alternately I have two boxes at my front gate from two 100% independent NBN providers offering similar services and a choice of whom to use.

Is Choice going to prepare a submission/s which reflect our views and experiences to the government?