Telecomms disputes process review yields changes

A better complaints service will result, say TCF and resolution scheme chair

The Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Scheme, which recently came under fire from TUANZ and Consumer NZ, has been modified following its regular two-year review, which finished in June.

Changes to the system include a new complaints process, which the Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum (TCF) says will “allow for a more streamlined and speedy resolution of customer complaints”.

In a statement announcing the results of the review, the TCF says “Of the improvements featured in the amended code, the most significant is a new complaints process.

“The existing system required consumer complaints to fit within a stepped, inflexible process. The proposed process allows the dispute resolution agency to select the tools it considers to be most appropriate to achieve the best result for the parties involved.”

Other changes, the TCF notes, include the introduction of ‘position statements’, which detail common areas of dispute, and how these should be treated.

Also, complaints will be “clearly defined, early on” allowing for more effective use of the resolution phase.

Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Scheme chair David Russell says in the statement that “a number of clumsy and time-consuming steps will be removed from the dispute resolution system”.

TCF chief executive David Stone says in the statement: “Many people have been involved with this year’s review.

“The improvements as proposed are clearly indicative of the attention being given to consolidating an independent service that consumers and their telecommunications providers can rely on.”

The draft amended Customer Complaints Code has been released for public consultation. Submissions can be made before February 1.

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