Complaint Handling Process

 

1 Introduction

This document explains our complaint handling process (CHP
) for our past, current and prospective customers (we’ll call them all customers) who are covered by the

Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard
2018

(Complaints Standard).

It outlines how we handle complaints, and is intended especially for our
customers, our own staff, other Telcos involved in our supply chain, and
other interested parties, and it includes the minimum requirements for
consumer complaints handling as required by the Complaints Standard.

2 Accessing this Complaint Handling Process

(a) This CHP is available on our website.

(b) There is a link on our home page to information about how to contact us
to make a complaint or enquiry, and it is clear that the link provides
information you can use to make a complaint.

(c) We’ll also make this CHP available to you:

· if you ask for it; or

· as soon as practicable after you inform us that you wish to make a
complaint.

Note to staff: If you’re dealing directly with customers, you must give
them access to this CHP as described above.

3 Who this CHP applies to

This CHP applies to you if you are:

(a) an individual customer who acquires a telecommunications product mainly
for personal or domestic use and not for resale; or

(b) a business or non-profit that, at the time of contract:

(i) acquires a telecommunications product not for resale; and

(ii) doesn’t have a genuine and reasonable opportunity to negotiate the
terms; and

(iii) has an (anticipated) annual spend with us of $20,000 or less.

4 Some special terms

(a) ‘ACMA’ means Australian Communications and Media Authority – see clause
39(d).

(b) ‘Financial hardship’ means a situation where:

(i) you can’t discharge your financial obligations to us, due to illness,
unemployment, being the victim of domestic or family violence, or other
reasonable temporary or ongoing cause; and

(ii) you believe that you will be able to discharge those obligations if
the payment or other arrangements relating to the supply of
telecommunications products by us to you are changed.

(c) ‘Personal information’ means the same as in the Privacy Act 1988.

(d) ‘Solution’ means a way to deal with a complaint – not necessarily the
way you want.

(e) ‘Telecommunications product’ means the same as in the Complaints
Standard – it covers most telco services and associated goods we supply.

(f) ‘TIO’ means Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman – see clause 29.

(g) ‘Working day’ means a day that is not a Saturday, Sunday or gazetted
public holiday in the location of your premises or principal place of
business.


5 Representatives

(a) You may choose to appoint a ‘Representative’ ie either:

(i) an Authorised Representative – who is a person who has
authority from you to deal with us on your behalf as your authorised agent;
or

(ii) an Advocate – who is a person nominated on your
behalf to deal with us on your behalf, but does not include an Authorised
Representative or a person who has authority to access your account
information from us.

(b) The forms and procedures for nominating a Representative are on our
website.

(c) You can nominate a Representative to make and handle a complaint for
you.

6 What’s a ‘complaint’?

Any of the following counts as a complaint:

(a) if you express dissatisfaction about our products or services; or

(b) if you express dissatisfaction about our complaint handling process –

and you tell us, or imply, that you expect a response.

But if you make an initial call to request information, or to request
support, or to report a fault or service difficulty, we won’t treat it as a
complaint unless you ask us to.

And if there was legal action already underway, the subject of that
wouldn’t be treated as a complaint.

Notes to staff:

(a) If a dissatisfied customer contacts us and you’re not clear whether
they want to record a complaint – you must ask them, to clarify.

(b) You must also help a dissatisfied customer to formulate their
complaint, and to lodge it, and to progress it.

(c) To assist staff to help customers with special needs or disabilities,
we’ve included some guidance steps in clause 41.

(d) To assist staff to help customers from non-English backgrounds, we’ve
included some guidance steps in clause 42.

(e) To assist staff to help customers suffering financial hardship, we’ve
included some guidance steps in 43.

2 When is a complaint ‘resolved’?

A complaint counts as ‘resolved’ when:

(a) we and you have agreed on a solution, and we have fully implemented it;
or

(b) you escalate it to the TIO; or

(c) all internal resolution processes set out in this CHP have been
completed and:

(i) you and we have not agreed on a solution; and

(ii) we have advised you about your options for external dispute
resolution, including the TIO – see clauses 29 and 39; or

(d) we are otherwise entitled to close the complaint under the Complaint
Closing Rules in clause 27.

We will confirm that your complaint has been resolved as soon as
practicable after we complete our investigation of it, and we’ll confirm
that in writing, within five working days after you ask us to.

3 Our complaints goal

As a customer, you have the right to make a complaint. Our goal is to keep
our customers satisfied, and that means as few complaints as possible, and
that any complaints that do arise are dealt with openly, fairly and
promptly.

To support that goal:

(a) Our complaints process is approved by our Chief Executive Officer (or
equivalent), who is responsible for ensuring its implementation, operation
and compliance in accordance with the Complaints Standard.

(b) Our complaints process is managed by a senior manager who must maintain
the effective and efficient operation of the process in accordance with the
Complaints Standard.

(c) Our complaints process is focused on your needs and expectations and is
designed to be easy to understand and use.


4 How and when you can make a complaint

You can make a complaint:

How

When

· By letter to 1503 Centre Road, Clayton, VIC 3168 7 days per week
  • On our website at truefibre.com.au
24×7
9am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), excluding public holidays
  • Email – complaints@truefibre.com.au
24×7

5 How and when you can monitor the progress of a complaint

You can monitor complaint progress:

How

When

Call 1300 850 356 and quote your Complaint Number 9am to 6pm (Monday to Friday), excluding public holidays
  • Visit your customer account page
7 days a week, 24×7

6 If you need assistance

We will assist you to formulate, lodge and progress a complaint if you need
help, especially including because of disability, hardship and difficulties
with English. Just let our Customer Care officer know you want help and, if
you can’t tell us in that way:

(a) write or email your request to an address in clause 9; or

(b) contact us through your Representative – see clause 5; or

(c) contact us via the National Relay Service on 133 677; or

(d) contact us via the Translating & Interpreting Service on 131 450.

7 Receiving your complaint

We’ll receive your complaint through any of the contact points in paragraph
9.


8 Our complaint management steps

We will use our best efforts to resolve your complaint on first contact. If
we can’t do that, the steps in the following clauses apply.

9 Acknowledgement of your complaint

(a) If you make a complaint in person or by telephone to a Customer Care
officer, we’ll acknowledge it immediately.

(b) If you make a complaint by email, or through our website or another
customer service website we approve, or by paper post, or by a telephone
message recording system, we’ll acknowledge it within two working days.

(c) When we acknowledge your complaint, we’ll allocate it a unique
reference number or take another measure so we can later identify the
complaint and its subject matter (Complaint Number), and
advise you of the Complaint Number.

10 Initial assessment of your complaint

On initial assessment, a Customer Care officer will:

(a) identify and flag it if it is an urgent complaint – see clause 16;

(b) categorise it according to our standard categories in clause 34;

(c) identify and flag complaints about billing errors – see clause 23;

(d) assess whether it can be resolved without further investigation; and if
so skip to:

(i) clause 21 (for non-urgent complaints) or

(ii) clause 22 (for urgent complaints).


11 How we identify urgent complaints

Your complaint is identified as urgent if:

(a) you have applied for or have been accepted as being in financial
hardship under our Financial Hardship Policy and the subject matter of your
complaint can reasonably be presumed to directly contribute to or aggravate
your financial hardship; or

(b) disconnection of your service is imminent or has occurred and where due
process has not been followed; or

(c) it relates to a service for which you receive Priority Assistance under
the Priority Assistance for Life Threatening Medical Conditions Code.

Our Customer Care officers are trained to watch for these factors and must
flag a complaint as urgent if any of them are seen to apply.


12 Internal prioritisation process

We are flexible in the way we prioritise complaint processing, because
special circumstances can apply. But in normal circumstances:

(a) Urgent complaints have highest priority.

(b) Complaints involving services to customers with significant health
problems, or the care of young children or who are in remote locations or
who are old-aged are prioritised next.

(c) Complaints that are approaching, or have exceeded maximum response
times are prioritised next.

We can often only know about these, or other, important factors if you tell
us. You can alert us using any of the contact channels through which you
can lodge a complaint.

13 Concerns about applicable response time

If you notify us that you are not satisfied with the response times that
apply to the handling or management of your complaint, within five working
days we’ll advise you about:

(a) our internal prioritisation process – see clause 17;

(b) our internal escalation process – see clause 28; and

(c) options for external dispute resolution, including the TIO – see
clauses 29 and 39.

14 Request for urgency

If you reasonably notify us that you want your complaint to be assessed and
treated as urgent, within two working days we’ll advise you about:

(a) our internal prioritisation process – see clause 17;

(b) our internal escalation process – see clause 28; and

(c) options for external dispute resolution, including the TIO – see
clauses 29 and 39.


15 Investigation of your complaint

In investigating a complaint, a Customer Care officer will:

(a) make any relevant enquiries of you, your Authorised Representative or
Advocate, or our systems or other staff, or of any other telcos involved in
our supply chain, and other interested parties;

(b) investigate the complaint suitably for its seriousness;

(c) fairly and carefully consider the merits of the complaint;

(d) focus on finding the optimal solution for you and the situation;

(e) seek guidance from a manager if necessary; and

(f) keep in mind our obligations under the Complaints Standard and this
document.


16 Our response and proposed solution

(a) We’ll offer a solution for your complaint within 15 working days of
receiving it, unless a delay prevents that – see clause 30.

(b) We’ll confirm that offer in writing, within five working days after you
ask us to.


17 Handling urgent complaints & how it’s different from ordinary
complaints,

An urgent complaint will be handled generally in accordance with this CHP,
but within two working days of receiving your urgent complaint, we will:

(a) offer a solution; and

(b) if you accept that solution, action it –

(unless a delay prevents that – see clause 30) and we’ll confirm that in
writing, within five working days after you ask us to.


18 Complaints about billing errors

If you make a complaint during a billing period about a billing error, we
will resolve it by the end of the next billing period.

19 Solutions

(a) The solution we offer will be tailored to you so that, as far as
practicable, it addresses the main cause of the complaint, and your
individual circumstances.

(b) Where a complaint is indicative of a broader problem or systemic issue,
we’ll seek to resolve the main cause of that problem or issue.

(c) We aren’t required to action that proposed solution unless and until
you accept it. If you do accept our proposed resolution, we are allowed a
period of time to action it – see clause 26.

20 Communicating our decision about the complaint

(a) We’ll notify you of our decision about your complaint as soon as
practicable after we complete our investigation, including offering any
solution in accordance with clause 21.

(b) We’ll communicate this information by email or text message or by
phone.

(c) We’ll confirm it in writing, within five working days after you ask us
to.


21 Implementing an agreed solution

We’ll fully action a solution within ten working days after you agree to
it, unless:

(a) we and you agree otherwise; or

(b) you agreed to do something to facilitate the solution by a certain
time, and you failed to do so; or

(c) it’s an urgent complaint and clause 22 applies.


22 Closing a complaint – (Complaint Closing Rules)

We may close your complaint in our complaints system if:

(a) the complaint is resolved and there is nothing left for us to do; or

(b) you consent; or

(c) we have completed the Unsatisfactory Outcome Procedure in clause 31; or

(d) we have completed the Unreasonable Complaint Procedure in clause 32; or

(e) we have completed the Lost Contact Procedure in clause 33.


23 Internal escalation process

(a) Your complaint will be escalated and managed accordingly if you
reasonably request it.

(b) You can request escalation using any of the contact channels through
which you can lodge a complaint.

(c) Internal escalation and management may not accelerate resolution if the
complaint is not urgent and its processing already meets the applicable
standards and is within the permitted maximum response time/s.

(d) A complaint will be automatically escalated if:

(i) a maximum response time has been exceeded;

(ii) it becomes urgent; or

(iii) you notify us of another factor that increases the seriousness of
your complaint or the need for expedited resolution.

(e) Each escalated complaint will be referred to a more senior Customer
Care officer, who will assess the reason/s for the escalation and the best
way to respond to them, and direct action accordingly.


24 Process where a complaint is referred to the TIO for external resolution

(a) You may escalate a complaint to the TIO after we have been given a
reasonable opportunity to resolve it.

(b) The TIO can be contacted:

(i) through its website at www.tio.com.au;

(ii) by phone on 1800 062 058;

(iii) by writing to PO Box 276, Collins Street West Vic 8007;

(iv) through the National Relay Service – call on 1800 555 677 then ask for
1800 062 058;

(v) by faxing a consumer complaint form (see
www.tio.com.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/9195/TIO-consumer-complaint-form-Feb-2016.pdf)
to 1800 630 614; or

(vi) by emailing the consumer complaint form to tio@tio.com.au.

(c) The TIO may accept your complaint if:

(i) it is about your landline telephone, mobile or internet service, damage
to your property or telecommunications equipment; and

(ii) you have already tried to contact us to resolve your complaint with
us; and

(iii) you the account holder or have you been authorised to deal with the
matter by the account holder; and

(iv) your complaint less than two years old (or between two and six years
old, if you have a good reason for not making it before).

(d) If TIO accepts your complaint, it will process it according to its
current procedures.


25 If delays occur or are anticipated

(a) If there’s a delay in the timeline for managing or handling your
complaint, we’ll inform you as soon as possible after we become aware of
it.

(b) If we do not reasonably believe we can resolve your complaint within 15
working days (or two working days for an urgent complaint) we will advise
you within those periods:

(i) why there is a delay;

(ii) the new timeframe that will apply; and

(iii) if we expect resolution to require more than ten more working days,
of your options for external dispute resolution including the TIO (except
if the delay is because of a notified mass outage of service).


26 Unsatisfactory Outcome Procedure

(a) If you:

(i) notify us that you are not satisfied with the progress of your
complaint; or

(ii) notify us that you are not satisfied with the outcome of your
complaint; or

(iii) enquire about your options to pursue your complaint further –

then we’ll advise you about:

(iv) our internal escalation process – see clause 28 (to the extent that
you haven’t already availed yourself of it); and

(v) your options for external dispute resolution, including the TIO – see
clauses 29 and 39.

(b) Unless you avail yourself of any remaining internal escalation process,
we may then close your complaint under the Complaint Closing Rules.


27 Unreasonable Complaint Procedure

(a) If we consider that:

(i) we can do nothing more to resolve your complaint or assist you; and

(ii) your behaviour or complaint is frivolous or vexatious –

we may decide not to deal further with your complaint.

We won’t do that without careful consideration, and appropriate internal
escalation, and acting reasonably.

(b) Within five working days of such a decision, we’ll advise you of the
reasons for our decision and your options for external dispute resolution,
including the TIO – see clauses 29 and 39.

(c) After that:

(i) we may then close your complaint under the Complaint Closing Rules; and

(ii) we reserve the right not to accept any further complaints from you on
the same or similar issues, except as a part of an external dispute
resolution process.

(d) Nonetheless, if you ask for written confirmation of our reasons and
your options for external resolution, we’ll provide them within five
working days – see clauses 29 and 39.


28 Lost Contact Procedure

(a) If we can’t contact you to discuss your complaint or offer a solution,
we’ll write to you:

(i) advising we couldn’t contact you;

(ii) detailing our contact attempts; and

(iii) inviting you to contact us to discuss the complaint within a
specified period (of at least ten working days).

(b) Unless you contact us to discuss the complaint within that period, we
may then close your complaint under the Complaint Closing Rules.


29 Classifying complaints

(a) Complaints will be categorised as follows:

(i) NBN

(A) Billing & Payment

(B) Connection

(C) Contracts

(D) Credit management

(E) Customer service

(F) Faults

(G) Privacy

(H) Transfer

(ii) Another internet

(A) Billing & Payment

(B) Connection

(C) Contracts

(D) Credit management

(E) Customer service

(F) Faults

(G) Privacy

(H) Transfer

(iii) Landline

(A) Billing & Payment

(B) Connection

(C) Contracts

(D) Credit management

(E) Customer service

(F) Faults

(G) Privacy

(H) Transfer

(iv) Mobile

(A) Billing & Payment

(B) Connection

(C) Contracts

(D) Credit management

(E) Customer service

(F) Faults

(G) Privacy

(H) Transfer

Each category has been titled so as to clearly describe the kinds of
complaints covered. Staff must apply the categories carefully and
appropriately.

(b) The Customer Care officer who first deals with a complaint after we
receive it must classify it.

(c) Where, in the course of dealing with a complaint, a Customer Care
officer recognises that a complaint should be classified by reference to
alternative or additional categories, they must amend the classification
accordingly and make a brief note of the amendment/s and reasons.

30 Restriction on legal proceedings

We will not commence legal proceedings against you that has the same
subject matter as a complaint:

(a) while the complaint is being handled internally; or

(b) within seven working days after you are advised of the outcome of the
complaint; or

(c) while the complaint is being investigated by the TIO.

31 Charges for using our complaints process

Our complaints process is free to use.

32 Limit on cancelling service

If:

(a) you make a complaint; and

(b) you weren’t able to resolve it directly with us; and

(c) you pursue external dispute resolution –

we will not cancel your service for those reasons alone.


33 Credit management action suspended

We will not take credit management action over a disputed amount if you
have made a complaint and we know:

(a) it has not been resolved to your satisfaction; and

(b) it is being investigated by us or the TIO or some other recognised
third party.


34 External dispute resolution

The following external dispute resolution bodies may be able to assist with
your complaint, but may require that you first attempt to resolve it
directly with us:

(a) the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) – see
clause 29;

(b) the Office of Fair Trading in Your State or Territory – visit your
State or Territory consumer website;

(c) for Australian Consumer Law matters, the Australian Consumer and
Competition Commission (ACCC) – www.accc.gov.au;


(d) for Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code matters, the
Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) –
www.acma.gov.au;

(e) for privacy issues, the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner (OAIC) – www.oaic.gov.au.

35 Further requirements for our staff

We will ensure that our staff who deal directly with customers and/or with
complaints:

(a) are given access to a copy of this CHP;

(b) understand the requirements for consumer complaints handling under the
Complaints Standard and their roles and responsibilities under this CHP;

(c) understand what remedies are available to assist with the resolution of
a complaint;

(d) manage and resolve complaints in an effective and efficient manner in
accordance with the Complaints Standard;

(e) treat you with fairness and courtesy when you make a complaint;

(f) can identify and record a complaint; and

(g) can classify complaints in accordance with clause 34.


36 Guidance: helping customers with special needs or disabilities

TIO has published a comprehensive Position Statement on Responding to consumers with different needs (including special
needs or disabilities):


https://www.tio.com.au/about-us/position-statements/responding-to-consumers-with-different-needs

A copy is attached to this CHP as Annexure 1.

We endorse this Position Statement and recommend that all Customer Care
officers and other staff involved with complaint handling read and
understand it.

We endorse this Position Statement and require that all Customer Care
officers and other staff involved with complaint handling:

(a) Step 1: Understanding the Position Statement

Read and understand the Position Statement. Discuss with your supervisor if
any aspect isn’t clear.

(b) Step 2: Action steps

Each bullet point in the Position Statement regarding dealing with relevant
customers and their complaints is to be considered, and actioned as
appropriate, in the course of those dealings.


37 Guidance: helping customers from non-English-speaking backgrounds

TIO has published a comprehensive Position Statement on Responding to consumers with different needs (including customers
from non-English-speaking backgrounds):


https://www.tio.com.au/about-us/position-statements/responding-to-consumers-with-different-needs

A copy is attached to this CHP as Annexure 1.

We endorse this Position Statement and require that all Customer Care
officers and other staff involved with complaint handling:

(a) Step 1: Understanding the Position Statement

Read and understand the Position Statement. Discuss with your supervisor if
any aspect isn’t clear.

(b) Step 2: Action steps

Each bullet point in the Position Statement regarding dealing with relevant
customers and their complaints is to be considered, and actioned as
appropriate, in the course of those dealings.


38 Guidance: helping customers suffering financial hardship

Our Financial Hardship Policy fully details how we deal with and help
customers suffering financial hardship. It sets out the steps we go through
in receiving, processing and finalising a financial hardship application.

A copy of our Financial Hardship Policy is available on our web site.

We require that all Customer Care officers and other staff involved with
complaint handling:

(a) Step 1: Understanding the Position Statement

Read and understand the Financial Hardship Policy. Discuss with your
supervisor if any aspect isn’t clear.

(b) Step 2: Action steps

Each numbered paragraph in the Financial Hardship Policy is to be
considered in dealing with relevant customers and their complaints, and
actioned as appropriate, in the course of those dealings.

The steps in the Financial Hardship Policy should be followed in order.
Where a step needs to be taken by the customer, assist the customer to do
so.

39 Complaint records we’ll keep

We’ll systematically record for each complaint, and retain for two years:

(a) the name and contact details of the consumer making the complaint, and
their representative where applicable;

(b) a unique reference number or such other measure that will ensure the
carriage service provider can subsequently identify the complaint and its
subject matter;

(c) a description of the nature of the complaint and the issues raised as
part of the complaint;

(d) a description of the resolution proposed by the carriage service
provider or the consumer;

(e) the due date for a response;

(f) a description of the results of any investigation;

(g) a description of the proposed resolution of the complaint, including
any associated commitments and the date this is communicated to the
consumer;

(h) a description of our reasons for its proposed resolution;

(i) the consumer’s response to the proposed resolution of the complaint,
any reasons given by the consumer, and if they have requested the proposed
resolution in writing, that this request has been made;

(j) the implementation of any required actions; and

(k) copies of any correspondence sent by or to the consumer regarding the
complaint.

40 Privacy

We will ensure that personal information we collect in connection with a
complaint is not disclosed to a third party except:

(a) as required to manage a complaint to the TIO or the ACMA;

(b) with your express consent; or

(c) as otherwise required or authorised by law.