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Complain to your telco

If you have a problem with a phone or internet service provider, you can complain to them. Your telco has to handle your complaint in a certain way.

Before you complain

  • Find your bill so you have information such as your account number and type of service.
  • Make a note of any important details, such as what the issue is and when it started.
  • Check your rights including your right to complain.
  • Think about what result will satisfy you.

How to complain

Contact your telco and tell them you wish to complain. You can complain even if you’re no longer a customer.

You can do this by phone, email or letter, in person, or on their website.

  • Explain the issue using the details you gathered earlier.
  • Consider the solution they propose. You’ll need to tell them if you’re happy with it or not.
  • Ask for a reference number, in case you need it in future.

If you need help to understand the process

Telcos have to publish their complaints handling process on their website. You can also ask them for a copy. This process has to be clear and easy for customers to understand.

You can ask a friend, relative or other person to deal with a telco on your behalf. They can act as:

  • an 'authorised representative', who can access your account or change your service
  • an 'advocate' who can communicate on your behalf

If you are asking someone to be an authorised representative, tell them what you need them to do. When you contact your telco, you may need to answer your normal security questions before they can speak to your authorised representative.

Telcos must also help customers who wish to complain. They need to provide extra help for customers:

  • who have disabilities
  • who are in financial hardship
  • who are from a non-English speaking background

Telcos have to follow the rules in the Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard 2018 (the Standard).

Wait for them to solve the problem

Your telco should aim to solve the problem the first time you contact them.

That’s not always possible, so they must tell you how long they think it will take and let you track its progress.

The Standard gives them 15 working days to solve non-urgent complaints. If they think can’t meet that timeline, they must tell you. They must also tell you what your options are if you’re unhappy with the time they give you.

Your telco can’t force you to accept a resolution. If you’re not happy with what they suggest, ask them to escalate your complaint. They have an internal process to follow for that.

Once you agree to a solution, they must complete it within 10 working days. The exception is if you agree to a different timeline or they are waiting for you to complete a step first.

Urgent complaints

Telcos must resolve urgent complaints within 2 business days. 'Urgent' means:

How to escalate a complaint

If you are not satisfied with the way your telco is handling your complaint, you can:

  • ask about your telco's escalation process, or read it on their website
  • ask to speak to a supervisor

If you are still not satisfied, complain to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

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