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Consumer Rights Advocate Russell Joins TDR Council

Media Release
Consumer Rights Advocate David Russell Joins TDR Council

28 November 2008

New Zealand’s most well-known consumer rights advocate David Russell is joining the council of New Zealand’s first independent telecommunication dispute resolution service, Telecommunication Dispute Resolution (TDR).

David Russell becomes the new consumer rights representative on the TDR council from November 30. In his role he will be part of the council that oversees the operations and management of the dispute resolution service, with a specific focus on consumer rights.

Mr Russell said he welcomed the opportunity to be a part of the TDR council.

“Technology is the next battleground for consumer rights – it’s a complex area and we need to make sure that consumers not only understand it but that their rights as consumers are protected too,” he said. “TDR has been set up by the telecommunications industry so that consumers have an alternative way of raising disputes, and from the positive feedback TDR has received to date it looks to be working.”

David Russell spent 35 years with Consumer NZ (formally the Consumers Institute), the last 12 as Chief Executive. He is a member of the Real Estate Agents Licensing Board, on the board of the Domain Name Commission Ltd, ambassador for Lifetime Design – an organisation promoting accessible housing for the disabled and the elderly – and chair of the Electricity Commission's retail market advisory group.

David Russell replaces another well-know consumer advocate on the TDR council,
Pat Hanley.

Council chairman Bill Bevan, a consumer law expert, said he was looking forward to Mr Russell’s involvement with TDR.

“David brings a huge range of experience and knowledge with him. Any board or council would benefit from having him involved, and TDR is very pleased he has agreed to join us,” Mr Bevan said.

TDR is a free service, which can be used by any consumer whose telecommunications company is a member of the TDR scheme.

Consumers must have raised their complaint with their telecommunication company first, and given the company a chance to respond. If the consumer is not happy with the outcome or it has taken more than six weeks to resolve, TDR can get involved.

The service has been established by the Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum (TCF) – a collective of telecommunication companies – along with leading consumer advocates such as Consumers’ Institute, TUANZ and Citizens Advice Bureaux.

The TCF established the TDR Council, made up of half industry and half consumer representatives, to provide the overall governance of the service.

Scheme Members:

Airnet NZ Ltd
CallPlus
Communitel
Digital Island
Eziphone
Faxware International Limited t/a TNZ Group
Genesis
ihug
igrin Internet
Kordia
Orcon
Snap Internet
Telecom
TelstraClear
Vodafone
WorldxChange


Websites:

Telecommunication Dispute Resolution
www.tdr.org.nz

Telecommunication Carriers’ Forum
www.tcf.org.nz

Dispute Resolution Services Ltd.
www.drsl.co.nz

Background:
The TDR service was established by the Telecommunication Carriers’ Forum, and is based on a Customer Complaints Code that has been agreed to by the TCF members. Development of the Code began in May 2005, and it was formally endorsed by the TCF late 2006. The TCF then established a Council to govern the Scheme and appoint a company to implement the service.
The formal structure:

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