Common Complaint - Customer Service

Complaints made by someone other than the account holder

Summary of the issue

TDR has received complaints from people in relation to telecommunication services in general, or specific providers when the provider may not be a Scheme Member, where the person may not be a customer. TDR's jurisdiction to consider a complaint is limited to considering complaints from 'customers'.

Usual positions of the parties

Usually when a person contacts TDR they have a grievance or concern which is of importance to them, and they consider that TDR should be able to consider that matter. At times the person may be bringing the complaint on behalf of the actual customer, and as such consider they are acting as a representative, and that the complaint should be accepted. When issues as to jurisdiction arise, the usual position a Scheme Member would take is to submit that the complaint cannot be considered by TDR, as the complainant is not a 'customer' as defined in the NZ Telecommunications Forum Customer Complaints Code (the Code).

TDR's view of the issue

TDR can only consider a complaint when that complaint is brought by a 'customer'. The term 'customer' is defined in the Code as follows:

"Customer" means a person who has a bona fide Billing Relationship with a Scheme Member in respect of a Telecommunication Service. The customer is the end user (i.e. not a wholesale customer)."

A complainant will be considered a customer when they are either the account holder for private telecommunication services, or a representative of a business with 19 or fewer employees (a requirement also defined in the Code). TDR will accept a complaint lodged by a representative of the account holder. TDR cannot consider any complaints being advanced by a Lawyer representing the customer.

TDR can only accept complaints lodged against Scheme Members. If the provider who is the subject of a complaint is not a Scheme Member, unfortunately TDR will have to advise the complainant that it cannot assist with the complaint. The complainant is able to take their complaint to other forums such as the Disputes Tribunal.