Resolving Disputes

What do you do when you have an issue with your telecommunications services? What can you do, where do you go, and who do you call? Following is a brief list of appropriate places to look for information.

Your Carrier
It may seem obvious, but if you have a problem with your phone service, you should always contact your carrier first. Believe it or not, the vast majority of issues are resolved at this step. Relevant numbers to call are printed on your phone bill, and on each carrier’s website.

In the event that they are unable or unwilling to resolve the issue, they are legally obliged to inform you that can pursue the matter further with the Telecommunication Industry Ombusdman (TIO). Indeed, failing to do so is in itself cause for complaint to the TIO.

Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman (TIO)
The TIO should only be contacted after all avenues with your carrier have failed (otherwise the TIO will simply refer you back to your carrier). They can be contacted on 1800 062 058. Complaints can also be filed online at www.tio.com.au. This site also provides a wealth of additional information, including a quarterly publication of complaint statistics.

19 SMS
This excellent website is run by Communications Alliance. It provides information about premium mobile services, including your rights, where to find services, and how to opt out (texting ‘STOP’ to the 19 number should usually doit). www.19sms.com.au.

Mobile Spam and Scams
In the event that you are receiving unsolicited mobile content or offers, then the offending party’s details should be forwarded to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), on 1300 850 115, or online at www.acma. gov.au. If you fall prey to a 19 scam, then this should be referred to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on 1300 302 502, or at www.accc. gov.au.

The difference between the ACCC and ACMA is worth noting. The former enforces competition and access regulations (across all industries), while the latter enforces media and communications legislation. For more specifics, check out the respective websites.

Communications Alliance
This is the peak body for the Australian telecommunications industry. This group is responsible for the voluntary codes and standards via which the telco industry operates. Their website includes a great deal of information covering a range of topics. It is well worth a look if you’re interested in this area.