TCF Chief Executive, Geoff Thorn said it was pleasing that Telecommunications Dispute Resolution (TDR) observed a significant reduction in customer complaints after the country went into lockdown earlier this year, “and they attribute this in part to the way telecommunications providers took extra steps to help New Zealanders through the lockdown.”
Thorn said the latest six-monthly report from TDR showed the overwhelming majority of consumer concerns continue to be resolved directly by telecommunications providers, with formal TDR intervention - either by facilitation or mediation between customer and provider, or by making a formal adjudication – required in just 1.9% of the complaints and enquiries noted by TDR between January and June 2020.
“The current level 3 lockdown in Auckland is once again reinforcing the vital importance of world-class telecommunications services to help New Zealanders keep earning, learning and enjoying life during these extraordinary times,” said Thorn. “For our part, the telecommunications sector has worked extremely hard to keep networks running well, despite huge spikes in demand for broadband and mobile services, and to support customers as much as we can.”
Thorn said the latest TDR data indicates New Zealanders continue to be well served when it comes to dispute resolution. “As an industry, we also recognise how crucial it is for customers to be able to resolve any service issues they may encounter promptly and efficiently, especially in these challenging times. While the first step for consumers should always be to take any issue up with their provider, we encourage them to use the free and independent TDR service if they feel they can’t get things resolved to their satisfaction.”
Thorn said with nearly 8 million telecommunications connections in New Zealand, the number of consumers complaints and enquiries raised with TDR continues to be very low. By way of comparison, the rate of complaints or enquiries received per 10,000 New Zealand connections was less than a quarter of the complaints rate in Australia during January-March 2020 (the latest data available).
Making a complaint
If you have a complaint or issue with your telecommunications service provider, it is important that you contact them to let them know. If you have reached the end of your service provider's complaints process and your complaint has not been resolved, or it has been more than six weeks since contact was made and a satisfactory resolution has not been reached, a complaint can be lodged with TDR. TDR is a free, independent service to help consumers with complaints about their telecommunications provider. The TDR service is available to residential and small business (less than 20 full-time employees) customers of providers belonging to the TCF. All TCF members, who collectively provide service to 95% of New Zealand consumers, belong to TDR. Information on how consumers can lodge a complaint with either their provider or the TDR service can be found at: https://www.tcf.org.nz/consumers/complaints/service-complaints/.