TIO extends time to lodge complaints

The one-year time limit for Australian consumers to lodge a complaint about their telecommunications services with the TIO has now been extended to two years.

Australian consumers now have up to two years to lodge a complaint about their telephone, internet, or mobile service with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

The previous time limit to lodge complaints was one year.

The TIO can now also investigate complaints up to six years old, which is an increase from the previous two-year deadline. According to the telecommunications dispute organisation, the time extension allows it to consider all interactions before and after consumers sign up to contracts for telecommunications services they are complaining about.

"The changes will increase the accessibility of the TIO to Australian telecommunications consumes," Ombudsman Simon Cohen said in a statement. "This includes, in particular, consumers who are in financial hardship, and those who are the subject of default listings."

Another alteration to the previous TIO procedures include the introduction of a transparent process for considering whether to extend the two-year complaints deadline for individual cases. Reasons for and against extensions on certain complaints will be given to both the consumer and the telco involved.

Early last month, the TIO reported a spike in new complaints for mobile and fixed-line telecommunications services , but was understaffed to handle the complaints in a timely manner.

The TIO's dispute resolution services are free to consumers and small businesses.

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