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The NZ TCF endorses move by ComCom to promote TDR dispute scheme

The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum has welcomed the move by the Commerce Commission to further promote customers' access to the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Scheme (TDR).

The support stems from a recent open letter by the commerce commission, which was targeted at NZ telcos and focused on customer and provider understanding of the TDR.

The TDR is a free and independent complaints service that helps around 2,000 Kiwis each year. While it is a voluntary scheme, members of the TCF are members of TDR and cover the vast bulk of telecommunications customers. In lieu of the recent events, the TCF is encouraging all telecommunication providers to join the TDR.

Research has shown a significant increase in customer satisfaction in the TDR. The recent TDR biannual report revealed that 85% of issues raised with the TDR were resolved directly between the provider and their customer without requiring formal intervention.

Currently, the Commission is consulting on key initiatives to help raise awareness and promote the TDR. These include publishing a list of non-members on the Commerce Commission website, requiring proactive disclosure by non-members to new customers before sign-up and to existing customers on an ongoing basis, and possibly combining both options into an integrated pathway.

"While customers can always deal directly with their provider, sometimes that relationship breaks down and it's vital that customers have a way to deal with any issues that arise," says TCF CEO Paul Brislen.

"The Telecommunications Dispute Resolution service provides that path and we believe any company offering telco service in New Zealand should be party to the TDR process."

Brislen also stresses the positive impact that the TDR has on consumers, saying that there is more cohesion when telco providers and customers have a good understanding of the scheme. He believes it is an important channel to help create better solutions in the industry.

"The TDR is important. If a customer and their provider can't reach a resolution that is satisfactory to all concerned, the TDRS can help reach a resolution," he says.

"The scheme works well for customers and should be something that all telecommunication providers see as a positive addition to the sector."

The NZ Telecommunications Forum (TCF) has been working with Kiwis and the telco sector in Aotearoa since its founding in 2002. They say their goal is to actively foster cooperation among the telecommunications industry's participants to further enable the efficient provision of regulated and non-regulated telecommunications services.

Along with many major players in the NZ telco industry such as Spark, 2degrees and Mercury, the WISPA-NZ, which represents 28 Wireless Internet Service Providers, is also an Associate Member of TCF.

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