Australian Communications Consumer Action Network




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Fair Go:

Complaint Resolution for Digital Australia


An Occasional Paper prepared for the

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network


John T.D. Wood

Baljurda Comprehensive Consulting


Published in 2011


As the peak body that represents all consumers on communications technology issues including telecommunications, broadband and emerging new services, ACCAN conducts research that drives the fulfillment of its vision for available, accessible and affordable communications that enhance the lives of consumers. ACCAN’s activities are supported by funding from the Commonwealth Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. Visit www.accan.org.au for more information.


Occasional Papers are essays or reports that ACCAN considers contributions to the debate on specific issues related to communications in Australia. Occasional Papers published by ACCAN may be based on work carried out by external experts or other activities organised or supported by ACCAN. Occasional Papers reflect the views of their authors.


Australian Communications Consumer Action Network

Website: www.accan.org.au

Telephone: +61 2 9288 4000

TTY: +61 2 9281 5322

E-mail: info@accan.org.au


Baljurda Comprehensive Consulting Pty Ltd

Website: www.baljurda.com.au

Telephone: +61 2 6247 8435

E-mail: baljurda@ozemail.com.au


Published in March 2011

ISBN 978-0-9806659-6-3

Cover image: ©iStockphoto.com/accan




This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License. You are free to cite, copy, communicate and adapt this work, so long as you attribute the “Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)”.To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/.


This work can be cited as:

Wood, J, 2010. Fair Go: Complaint Resolution for Digital Australia, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), Sydney.

CONTENTS



ACRONYMS 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 2

1 FOREWORD 3

2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 5

3 A BACKGROUND TO DISPUTE RESOLUTION 7

4 THE BASIS FOR AN EDR SCHEME IN THE COMMUNICATIONS SECTOR 22

5 A FUTURE SCHEME FOR DIGITAL AUSTRALIA 32

6 Bibliography 42

Appendix A: Essential criteria for describing a body as an Ombudsman 47

Appendix B: Amended Industry Dispute Resolution Principles 51

Appendix C: Main issues identified in TIO’s connect.resolve campaign 63

ACRONYMS




ADR Alternate Dispute Resolution

ANZOA Australia and New Zealand Ombudsman Association

DIST Principles Benchmarks for Industry-based Customer Dispute Resolution Schemes – see Appendix B

EDR External Dispute Resolution

FOS Financial Ombudsman Service

IDR Internal Dispute Resolution

NBN National Broadband Network

Telco Telecommunications

TIO Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR




JOHN T.D. WOOD runs his own international consultancy business, Baljurda Comprehensive Consulting, specialising in complaint handling, accountability, consumer affairs, and anti-corruption measures. He was Deputy Commonwealth Ombudsman in Australia from 1994-99. Prior to that he was for 10 years, Director of the Federal Bureau of Consumer Affairs.

He designed and directed the Accountability Programme for RAMSI in the Solomon Islands, and was a consultant for anti-corruption institutions in Timor-Leste and Tonga. He is a Director of the Foundation for Effective Markets and Governance, ANU; Chair of the Australian Direct Marketing Code Authority; a Member of the Consumer Standing Forum, Standards Australia; Member of the International Ombudsman Institute; a Program Visitor, Regulatory Institutions Network, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University; a Member, Transparency International Australia; and a Life Member of CHOICE – the Australian Consumers’ Association. He was a founding member and a past President of SOCAP (the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals).

He has reviewed external dispute resolution schemes in the private and government sectors in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Asia-Pacific.
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