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Key Issues Identified For First Review Of Telco Dispute Resolution Scheme

The Commerce Commission has published a paper outlining the key issues it intends to focus on for its first review of the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Scheme (TDRS).

The Commission is required to review the TDRS at least once every three years and to report on any recommendations for improving the scheme.

“Getting prompt and effective resolution of any problems consumers can’t resolve directly with their telecommunications providers is a critical part of ensuring consumer satisfaction with their service,” Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson says.

The key issues the Commission has identified have been shaped by feedback from industry, consumers and community groups about aspects of the TDRS that work well, and those that could be improved.

“Consumer awareness of the service, the scheme’s ability to address systemic issues to improve outcomes for consumers and the complaint handling process are all important issues for us to consider,” Mr Gilbertson says.

“We will also look at the governance arrangements and independence of the industry-funded scheme, as well as the different types of memberships and the types of matters currently not covered by the scheme.

“At the end of our review, we will provide recommendations for any improvements to the scheme and set dates for when we expect to see those improvements implemented. If our recommendations are not implemented satisfactorily, we must report to the Minister, who may then introduce an alternative statutory dispute resolution scheme.”

The Commission has engaged cameron. ralph. khoury (CRK) as its independent expert to assist in conducting the review. CRK has conducted independent reviews of external complaints handling schemes in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, including the 2017 review of the Australian Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

The Commission will release a draft report for consultation around September, before publishing a final report in November.

The key issues paper can be found on the Commission’s website.

Background

The TDRS was established in 2007 by the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF), which is the industry body representing the majority of New Zealand’s telecommunications providers. The TDRS is designed to provide independent resolution of disputes. Consumers whose telecommunications providers are members of the scheme can take disputes with their telecommunications provider to the TDRS, which then works to find a resolution between the telecommunications provider and consumer. FairWay Resolution Limited is the dispute resolution provider for the scheme.

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