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Conciliation

In 2011-12, the TIO adopted a faster and more effective process – conciliation – to handle complaints that were unresolved through referral to the consumer’s service provider.

During a conciliation, the TIO acts as a facilitator between the consumer and service provider and helps them reach an agreed resolution to a complaint. Conciliation allows consumers and service providers to be clear on the issues in dispute, each other’s views, and the available solutions. The TIO is able to assist parties through fostering clear and effective communications, and by providing information about relevant laws, industry standards and TIO position statements that may be relevant to the complaint.

Conciliation is a much less formal practice than the old Level 2 process, and has resulted in faster complaint resolutions. Complaints are now more likely to be resolved at an earlier stage, rather than becoming lengthy investigations. We continue to achieve fair and reasonable outcomes for consumers, which are reflected in the high levels of satisfaction recorded in our consumer surveys of TIO services.

During the conciliation process, the TIO provides consumers with regular updates about the progress of their complaint. We focus on building effective relationships with both the consumer and service providers. Where necessary, we “shuttle” between the parties to explore possible solutions and address any blockers to an agreement.

Live transfers

The conciliation process was streamlined with the introduction of “live transfers” during this year. In the past, if a consumer could not resolve their complaint with their service provider after our referral, they may have had to wait several days for a call back while a more senior TIO officer assessed their complaint.

With live transfers, a consumer who contacts us with an unresolved complaint is transferred directly to the TIO officer who will conciliate their complaint. Live transfers reduce the run around for consumers, and increase the speed of our complaints process.

Conciliation snapshot

Old level 2 process


Conciliation

54.6 days

Average closure time

21.3 days

11.1%

Rate of complaints requiring further investigation

1.6%
View Conciliation snapshot

Amir’s complaint

Amir's complaint

Amir contacted us about a $700 debt he disputed with his provider.

In June, he called his provider to sign up over the phone to a mobile contract that came with a new handset and a new number. A couple of months after using his service, he received a bill of more than $700. He called his provider, which told him that the reason for the high bill was that he had gone over his data limit.

Trying to get to the root of the problem, he told his provider that he only used the internet for Skype to Skype calls, which he thought were excluded from his data allowance in his contract. After looking into his usage, the provider discovered that he was using an application he had downloaded himself and had incurred charges because it hadn't been downloaded through the provider’s portal.

Amir argued that he hadn’t been told about this when he called the provider to take out the contract, and didn’t have the portal installed on his phone either. The provider disputed it hadn’t given him this advice, but when Amir asked to hear the recording of the phone call again, the provider would not play it to him. The provider offered a $200 credit, which Amir was dissatisfied with. As he continued to dispute the debt, he only paid what he believed was correct, and the provider disconnected his service for non-payment.

When Amir called us, we referred his complaint back to the provider, which did not respond within the initial referral period, so we conciliated the complaint.

We called Amir’s provider and outlined the issues that he had told us in his complaint. A representative from his provider looked into the summary of issues and offered to resolve Amir’s complaint by reconnecting his service, sending him a link to the correct place where he should download Skype from, and waiving the excess usage charges. They also offered him a $40 goodwill credit.

Amir accepted this offer and the complaint was closed.

Amir’s complaint

Amir's complaint

Amir contacted us about a $700 debt he disputed with his provider.

In June, he called his provider to sign up over the phone to a mobile contract that came with a new handset and a new number. A couple of months after using his service, he received a bill of more than $700. He called his provider, which told him that the reason for the high bill was that he had gone over his data limit.

Trying to get to the root of the problem, he told his provider that he only used the internet for Skype to Skype calls, which he thought were excluded from his data allowance in his contract. After looking into his usage, the provider discovered that he was using an application he had downloaded himself and had incurred charges because it hadn't been downloaded through the provider’s portal.

Amir argued that he hadn’t been told about this when he called the provider to take out the contract, and didn’t have the portal installed on his phone either. The provider disputed it hadn’t given him this advice, but when Amir asked to hear the recording of the phone call again, the provider would not play it to him. The provider offered a $200 credit, which Amir was dissatisfied with. As he continued to dispute the debt, he only paid what he believed was correct, and the provider disconnected his service for non-payment.

When Amir called us, we referred his complaint back to the provider, which did not respond within the initial referral period, so we conciliated the complaint.

We called Amir’s provider and outlined the issues that he had told us in his complaint. A representative from his provider looked into the summary of issues and offered to resolve Amir’s complaint by reconnecting his service, sending him a link to the correct place where he should download Skype from, and waiving the excess usage charges. They also offered him a $40 goodwill credit.

Amir accepted this offer and the complaint was closed.