This document is our complaint handling policy (CHP) and explains our process for identifying, classifying, storing and responding to competition and consumer law complaints.
It outlines how we handle any competition and consumer law complaint, and is intended especially for our customers, our own staff, other telcos involved in our supply chain, and other interested parties.
2 Accessing this Complaint Handling Process
(a) This CHP is available on our website.
(b) We’ll also make it 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 any person who has a competition and consumer law complaint about us.
4 Some special terms
(a) ACCC means the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
(b) ACL means the Australian Consumer Law in Schedule 2 of the CCA.
(c) ACL Complaint means a complaint about compliance with the ACL.
(d) ACL Complaint Category means a topic or topics listed in clause 31.
(e) CCA means the Competition and Consumer Law 2010, other than the ACL.
(f) CCA Complaint means a complaint about compliance with the CCA.
(g) CCA Complaint Category means a topic or topics listed in clause 32.
(h) CHP has the meaning given in clause 1.
(i) competition and consumer law complaint means a CCA Complaint or an ACL Complaint.
(j) Complaint Closing Rules means the rules set-out in clause 24.
(k) Lost Contact Procedure means the procedure set-out in clause 30.
(l) personal information means the same as in the Privacy Act 1988.
(m) solution means a legally compliant way to deal with a competition and consumer law complaint – not necessarily the way you want.
(n) Unreasonable Complaint Procedure means the procedure set-out in see clause 29.
(o) Unsatisfactory Outcome Procedure means the procedure set-out in clause 28.
(p) 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 What is a ‘complaint’?
Under this CHP, a complaint is where you express dissatisfaction about compliance with the CCA or the ACL and you tell us, or imply, that you expect a response.
Notes to staff:
(a) If any person with a likely competition and consumer law complaint contacts us and you’re not clear whether they want to record a complaint – you must ask them, to clarify.
6 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) 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 referring your complaint to the ACCC – see clause 37; or
(c) you escalate it to the ACCC; or
(d) we are otherwise entitled to close the complaint under the Complaint Closing Rules in clause 24.
7 Our complaints goal
As a customer or a person with a competition and consumer law complaint, you have the right to make a complaint. Our goal is to:
(a) comply in all respects with the CCA and ACL; and
(b) keep our customers (and, in relation to the CCA and the ACL, other persons) satisfied, and that means as few complaints as possible, and that any complaints that do arise are dealt with openly, fairly and promptly and in accordance with the CCA and ACL.
8 How and when you can make a complaint
You can make a complaint:
9 How and when you can monitor the progress of a complaint
You can monitor complaint progress:
10 If you need assistance
We will assist you to formulate, lodge and progress your complaint if you need help, especially including because of disability and difficulties with English. Just let our staff 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 8; or
(b) contact us via the National Relay Service on 133 677; or
(c) contact us via the Translating & Interpreting Service on 131 450
11 Receiving your complaint
We’ll receive your complaint through any of the contact points in clause 8.
12 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.
13 Acknowledgement of your complaint
(a) If you make a complaint in person or by telephone to any of our staff, 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 use our best efforts to acknowledge it within two working days, and in any event, within a reasonable period of time.
(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.
14 Initial assessment of your complaint
On initial assessment, our staff who deal directly with customers and/or with complaints will:
(a) identify and flag it if it is a competition and consumer law complaint – see clause 15; and
(b) if your complaint is a competition and consumer law complaint, assess whether it can be resolved without further investigation; and if so skip to clause 20 (for non-urgent complaints).
If your complaint is not a competition and consumer law complaint, we will advise you of this within 15 working days of receiving it, unless a delay prevents that – see clause 27. If you are not satisfied with our assessment or classification of your complaint, you may escalate your complaint – see clause 17.
15 How we identify competition and consumer law complaints
Your complaint is identified as a competition and consumer law complaint if:
(a) you expressly reference the CCA and/or the ACL in connection with it;
(b) it appears to relate to one or more CCA Complaint Categories or ACL Complaint Categories (our staff receive training in relation to these complaint categories – see clause 38(e)).
16 Internal prioritisation process
We are flexible in the way we prioritise complaint processing, because special circumstances can apply. But in normal circumstances, competition and consumer law complaints are always to be processed without any unnecessary delay.
We can often only know about any special circumstances, 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 with us (see clause 8).
17 Concerns about applicable response time, assessment or classification of complaint
If you notify us that you are not satisfied with:
(a) the response times that apply to the handling or management of your complaint; or
(b) our assessment or classification of your complaint under clause 14,
then within five working days we’ll advise you about:
(c) our internal prioritisation process – see clause 16;
(d) our internal escalation process – see clause 25; and
(e) your option for referring your complaint to the ACCC – see clause 26.
18 Concerns about response time
If you reasonably notify us that you want your complaint to be assessed and treated as urgent, within five working days we’ll advise you about:
(a) our internal prioritisation process – see clause 16;
(b) our internal escalation process – see clause 25; and
(c) options for referring your complaint to the ACCC – see clauses 26 and 37.
19 Investigation of your complaint
In investigating a competition and consumer law complaint, our staff who deal directly with customers and/or with complaints will:
(a) make any relevant enquiries of you, 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 in-house legal counsel; and
(f) keep in mind our obligations under the CCA, ACL and this CHP.
20 Our response and proposed solution
(a) We’ll respond and (where applicable) offer a solution for your competition and consumer complaint within 15 working days of receiving it, unless a delay prevents that – see clause 27.
(b) We’ll confirm that offer in writing, within five working days after you ask us to.
(a) The solution we offer will be tailored to you so that, as far as practicable, it addresses the main cause of the competition and consumer complaint, and your individual circumstances.
(b) 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 23.
(c) Where a competition and consumer complaint is indicative of a broader problem or systemic issue, we’ll seek to resolve the main cause of that problem or issue (irrespective of whether you accept our proposed solution or not).
22 Communicating our decision about the complaint
(a) We’ll notify you of our decision about your competition and consumer complaint as soon as practicable after we complete our investigation, including offering any solution in accordance with clause 20.
(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.
23 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.
24 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 – see clause 28; or
(d) we have completed the Unreasonable Complaint Procedure – see clause 29; or
(e) we have completed the Lost Contact Procedure – see clause 30.
25 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 with us (see clause 8).
(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; or
(ii) you notify us of another factor that increases the seriousness or urgency 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.
26 Process where a complaint is referred to the ACCC for external resolution
(a) You may escalate a complaint to the ACCC at any time.
(b) The ACCC can be contacted:
(i) through its website at www.accc.gov.au;
(ii) by phone on 1300 302 502;
(iii) by writing to GPO Box 3131, Canberra ACT 2601;
(iv) through the National Relay Service – call on 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 302 502; or
(v) by making an enquiry or through any other means specified at https://www.accc.gov.au/contact-us/contact-the-accc.
(c) If the ACCC accepts your complaint, it will process it according to its current procedures.
27 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 a competition and consumer complaint within 15 working days (or within any shorter period we may agree to after you notify us of another factor that increases the seriousness or urgency of your complaint or the need for expedited resolution), we will advise you within those periods:
(i) why there is a delay;
(ii) the new timeframe that will apply.
28 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 our assessment or classification of your complaint;
(iii) notify us that you are not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint; or
(iv) enquire about your options to pursue your complaint further – then we’ll advise you about:
(v) our internal escalation process – see clause 25 (to the extent that you haven’t already availed yourself of it); and
(vi) your option for referring your complaint to the ACCC (to the extent we haven’t already advised you of these) – see clause 26.
(b) Unless you avail yourself of any remaining internal escalation process, we may then close your complaint under the Complaint Closing Rules – see clause 24.
29 Unreasonable Complaint Procedure
(a) If we consider that:
(i) we can do nothing more to resolve your complaint or assist you (for example, where your complaint is not a competition and consumer law complaint); 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 (including to inhouse legal counsel), and acting reasonably.
(b) Within five working days of such a decision, we’ll advise you of the reasons for our decision and your option for referring your complaint to the ACCC – see clause 26.
(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 (for example, involving the ACCC).
(d) Nonetheless, if you ask for written confirmation of our reasons and your option for referring your complaint to the ACCC – see clause 26 – we’ll provide them within five working days.
30 Lost Contact Procedure
(a) If we can’t contact you to discuss your complaint or offer a solution (in respect of a competition and consumer complaint), 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.
31 Classifying ACL Complaints
A complaint is an ACL Complaint if it relates to one or more of the following topics:
(a) misleading or deceptive conduct;
(b) misrepresentations about goods or services;
(d) unfair contract terms;
(e) offering fake prizes;
(f) bait advertising;
(g) wrongly accepting payment;
(h) sending unsolicited credit or debit cards;
(i) scam invoicing;
(j) pyramid schemes;
(k) use of multiple price tags;
(l) stating the full buy price for goods and services;
(m) offering buyers commissions for referring more buyers;
(n) bullying sales tactics;
(o) acceptable quality of goods and services;
(p) consumer remedies where goods or services not of acceptable quality;
(q) unsolicited sales e.g. cold calling by telemarketing or door to door;
(r) how lay-by agreements must work;
(s) how gift cards must work;
(t) duty to provide receipts;
(u) duty to give an itemised invoice;
(v) how product warranties must work;
(w) safety standards for consumer goods and related services;
(x) bans and recalls of unsafe consumer goods;
(y) safety notices on consumer goods;
(z) reporting serious physical harm caused by goods or services.
32 Classifying CCA Complaints
A complaint is a CCA Complaint if it relates to one or more of the following topics:
(b) resale price maintenance;
(c) anti-competitive concerted practices;
(d) misuse of market power;
(e) exclusive dealing;
(f) anti-competitive mergers.
33 Classifying complaints
(a) Complaints will be categorised as follows:
(i) as a CCA Complaint; or
(ii) as a ACL Complaint; or
(iii) neither a CCA Complaint or ACL Complaint.
(b) Each of the ACL Complaint Category and CCA Complaint Category has been titled so as to clearly describe the kinds of complaints covered. Staff must apply the categories carefully and appropriately.
(c) Where, in the course of dealing with a complaint, staff recognise that the 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. Where any amendment of the ACL Complaint Category or CCA Complaint Category is proposed, staff must first engage with inhouse legal counsel for approval.
34 Restriction on legal proceedings
We will not commence any legal proceedings against you in respect of any matter 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 ACCC.
35 Charges for using our complaints process
Our complaints process is free to use.
36 Limit on cancelling service
(a) you make a complaint; and
(b) you weren’t able to resolve it directly with us; and
(c) you refer your complaint to the ACCC – we will not cancel your service for those reasons alone. For the avoidance of doubt, we will not cancel any service which is the subject of, or involved in, an active investigation by the ACCC.
37 Escalation of CCA Complaints
(a) All CCA Complaints will be notified to our in-house legal counsel within one working day of receipt by our staff.
(b) In-house legal counsel will further escalate and deal with such complaints according to their professional judgment.
38 Further requirements for our staff
We will ensure that our staff who deal directly with customers and/or with complaints:
(a) understand the requirements for complaints handling and their roles and responsibilities under this CHP;
(b) treat you with fairness and courtesy when you make a complaint;
(c) can identify and record a complaint;
(d) can assess complaints in accordance with clause 14 and classify complaints in accordance with clauses 31 and 32; and
(e) on induction, and at least once a year, receive training about the CCA and the ACL (including information about the CCA Complaint Categories and the ACL Complaint Categories).
39 Complaint records we’ll keep
We’ll systematically record and store for each complaint, and retain for two years (or five years in the case of a CCA Complaint):
(a) the name and contact details of the complainant making the complaint, and their representative where applicable;
(b) a unique reference number or such other measure that we 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) the due date for a response;
(e) a description of the results of any investigation;
(f) a description of the proposed resolution of the complaint, including any associated commitments and the date this is communicated to the complainant;
(g) a description of our reasons for the complaints proposed resolution;
(h) the complainant’s response to the proposed resolution of the complaint, any reasons given by the complainant, and if they have requested the proposed resolution in writing, that this request has been made;
(i) the implementation of any required actions; and
(j) copies of any correspondence sent by or to the complainant regarding the complaint.
(a) as required to manage a complaint to the ACCC;
(b) with your express consent; or