What is the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman?
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is an independent dispute resolution service that can assist you if you have been unable to resolve your complaint with your phone or Internet company directly.
What kind of complaints can the TIO deal with?
The TIO deals with complaints about telecommunications services. Some of these include billing problems, telephone faults, poor customer service, mobile phone contract problems and Internet access difficulties.
The TIO also has a role in handling objections by owners or occupiers of land on which a carrier intends to undertake land inspection, or installation of certain types of facility or maintenance activities. Information about these objection processes, including the strict timeframes involved, is available in the ACMA's fact sheet Installation of telecommunications facilities, or by contacting the TIO.
When should I go to the TIO?
If you have a complaint about your phone or Internet company, the first step you should take is to contact the company in question and try and resolve it directly with them. Usually the problem can be resolved at this stage and there is no reason to take the issue further. If you are not happy with the way your complaint is dealt with at first contact, you should escalate the matter within the phone company by asking to speak to a supervisor or manager. However, if the company doesn't respond to your complaint, or if you are unhappy with the resolution of the problem or think that their solution is unfair, then you can make a complaint to the TIO. The TIO will only handle the complaint if you have first contacted your phone or Internet company.
How long does it take for the TIO to deal with a complaint?
More than 90 per cent of complaints to the TIO are sorted out within a few days, but the more complex cases can take a few weeks. It depends on the nature of the complaint.
How much does it cost?
The TIO service is free. There is no charge to have a complaint investigated by the TIO.
Who pays for the TIO?
The TIO is funded entirely by the telecommunications industry. The TIO bills telephone and internet companies according to the number of complaints received against them.
How do I contact the TIO?
You can get more information about the TIO on the internet at www.tio.com.au or by calling the TIO on the freephone number 1800 062 058.
If you don't speak English, you can call the Commonwealth Government's Translating and Interpreting Services on 131 450 and ask to be put through to the TIO freephone number. The TIO pays for the cost of using the interpreter service.
The TIO also has fact sheets available in different languages.
The ACMA has fact sheets on a range of topics.
Please note: this document is intended as a guide only and should not be relied on as legal advice or regarded as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases.