Frequently Asked Questions

Scan through our helpful FAQs to quickly see what TDR can or can't help with.

While TDR are considering your complaint, the related services should not be stopped. The telecommunications company should not start a debt collection process about these services while there is still a dispute either. You should, however, pay all of the amounts on your bill which related to services that are not part of the dispute, otherwise they may be restricted or disconnected.


  • TDR cannot consider claims that are based on:
    • Loss of profits or indirect loss
    • Claims for pain and suffering
    • Loss of business reputation Inconvenience and mental distress
    • Costs involved in compiling or pursuing a complaint through the TDR process.

Yes. The Customer Complaints Code covers problems with moving from one telecommunications company to another.

Yes - anyone can complain on your behalf - for example, a member of your family, a friend or a Community Law Centre, however this person must be listed as being ‘authorised to act on this account’ with your telecommunications company.

No. You are still free to take the complaint to the Disputes Tribunal, through the Court System or any other complaint resolution body. TDR cannot look at a complaint that is currently being considered by any of these other bodies, however.

If you do accept TDR’s final decision the telecommunications company is bound by that decision and must carry out all of the actions - including payments - that are in the decision.

No. Most complaints will be dealt with by talking to you over the phone and through the exchange of letters.

No. The TDR scheme is a free and informal alternative to the Disputes Tribunal, or the Court System, so you won’t need a lawyer. If you have engaged a lawyer to contact your telecommunications provider about your complaint, you cannot use the TDR scheme in relation to that complaint while the lawyer is dealing with the provider.

TDR is operated by FairWay Resolution Limited, a private employee-owned organisation, which is independent of all the telecommunication companies.

First, you’ll need to make the complaint to your telecommunications company  and give them the opportunity to resolve the issue.

If you’re not happy with the outcome, or haven’t had a solution you are happy with within six weeks, make a complaint to TDR.

TDR is committed to resolving complaints promptly, and responding to customers as soon as possible.

The TDR process can take up to six weeks. TDR may extend these timeframes to help the dispute resolution process, if necessary. However many complaints will be resolved at an earlier stage in the process, and take less time to complete.

The dispute process is free. If your telecommunications company has to look for information that is more than three months old or relates to an account that has been closed, however, it can charge you for this work. It can also charge if your complaint requires your phone line to be tested more than once in a six month period. The company must tell you before it does anything that might mean a cost to you.

Yes. TDR can only deal with disputes relating to claims of $15,000 or less, including compensation for direct loss. Ifyour complaint relates to amounts in excess of $15,000 it should be pursued through the Disputes Tribunal or the Court System.

You must make your complaint to us within 12 months of when you first discovered the event or issue giving rise to the complaint. If you make your complaint to us after 12 months, we will be unable to consider it.

Yes. Only the people and companies involved in a dispute can access any information about it. When you file a complaint your information will not be shared with anyone else without your consent.

The TDR scheme is funded by the telecommunications companies that are members of the Scheme. There is no cost to a telecommunications customer for making a complaint.

You can complain about any service or product that you get from your telecommunications company. This includes land-line phones, data, internet, mobile phone, pre-pay mobile phone, and digital and cable television etc.

There are some things TDR doesn’t cover however. This includes your telecommunications company’s prices, content in Yellow Pages advertising, 111 calls and network coverage. For a full list of what is and isn’t covered see the Types of Disputes page.

You must make your complaint to us within 12 months of when you first discovered the event or issue giving rise to the complaint. If you make your complaint to us after 12 months, we will be unable to consider it.

TDR will listen to both sides of the story, and consider all the facts. TDR will make a decision based on all the evidence presented.

If TDR can’t help, we recommend you go through your telecommunications company’s formal complaints process to try to resolve your issues. If you are dissatisfied with the results of this process, you can go to the Disputes Tribunal or through the Court System. If your dispute relates to unfair trading practices, we suggest you also inform the Commerce Commission.

Broadband is typically defined as “the technology that enables high speed transfer of data”. Descriptions of broadband usually focus on bandwidth and connection speed. A feature of broadband is that its minimum downstream speed is significantly higher than that available through ‘dial-up’ (narrowband) Internet access services.

For residential consumers, downstream speeds (traffic flowing from the Internet to the user's computer or mobile device) are typically faster than upstream speeds (traffic flowing from the user's computer or mobile device to the Internet). This is caused mainly by the greater bandwidth allocated by Internet service providers to the downstream channel than to the upstream channel (hence the term ‘asymmetric’ digital subscriber line, or ADSL).

Minimum speeds classified as ‘broadband’ change over time and vary between countries. Some developing countries (such as Morocco and Djibouti) set a minimum broadband speed of 128 kilobits per second (Kbps). Many national regulators and international organizations, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and OECD, define broadband as an Internet connection with downstream speeds of at least 256 Kbps. The United States recently redefined broadband as requiring a download speed of 4 Megabits per second (Mbps) and an upload speed of 1 Mbps.

In New Zealand, the Government’s ultra-fast broadband initiative aims to achieve download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 50 Mbps, for 75 percent of the population. The minimum broadband speeds for the remaining 25 percent living in more rural areas are defined as at least 5 Mbps (downstream) and 1 Mbps (upstream).

In fact, broadband speeds can vary significantly depending upon the particular type of technology (for example, fixed-line is typically faster than wireless – see below) and level of services provided (whether web-browsing, gaming, streaming music or video). The types of technology and the connection speeds they deliver play important roles in the performance of broadband services because they determine the quality of service and the experience of end-users.

For instance, the ITU reports that it may take 3 minutes to download a 5 MB (megabyte) music track with a connection speed of 256 Kbps. The same download takes only 20 seconds and 1 second with connection speeds of 2 Mbps and 40 Mbps respectively. The download of a 20 MB video clip may take less than 4 seconds with a high-speed connection of 40 Mbps, compared with 1 minute at a speed of 2 Mbps and as long as 10 minutes at a speed of 256 kbps. (Table 1 displays the theoretical time to download data at different connection speeds).

There are numerous other factors that can significantly affect the speed and quality of service, such as distance from the exchange, volume of Internet traffic, other programs or users downloading on the same connection, the quality and age of the hardware and line, router configuration, the computer’s RAM availability, spyware on the computer, and faults in the network profile.

Common broadband network technologies available currently:

The packet-switched networks (both wire-line and wireless) are commonly accepted as the major highway for data transmission, offering ever-increasing capacity. These networks include backhaul and backbone facilities interconnected with the access networks of Internet service providers (ISPs). They provide the last-mile links through a variety of delivery access platforms such as telephone networks (through xDSL), cable TV (through coaxial cable) or fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) networks.

Broadband wireless (mobile) networks, such as Wi-Fi, WiMAX or 3G (4G) systems, also offer increasingly high-speeds for data transmission. These categories reflect the different development paths for broadband technologies that have recently become available.

There are substantial differences in fixed and mobile broadband technologies with huge variations in the speeds that each can provide. Generally, access speeds provided by fixed technologies are higher than that of wireless technologies, but without mobility. (Table 2 displays supported data rates of broadband technologies).

Appendices and article sources
Download 256 kbps 2 Mbps 40 Mbps 100Mbps
Table 1: Theoretical time to download data at different connection speeds
Simple web page (160kb) 5 sec 0.64 sec 0.03 sec 0.01 sec
5MB Music track 3 min 20 sec 1 sec 0.4 sec
20MB Video clip 10 min 1 min 4 sec 1.6 sec
CD/low quality movie 6 hours 47 min 2 min 56 sec
DVD/high quality movie 1.5 days 4.5 hours 12 min 5 min
Technology Supported data rates
Table 2: Supported data rates of broadband technologies
Fixed broadband  
-xDSL Up to 52 Mbps (VDSL), and 100 Mbps (UDSL)
-Cable TV (cable modem) Up to 120 Mbps (upstream) and 160 Mbps (downstream)
-FTTH Up to 1 Gbps
Mobile broadband  
W-CDMA Up to 2 Mbps
HSPA Up to 21 Mbps
1xEV-DO Up to 2.4 Mbps
UMTS-TDD Up to 7 Mbps
Wi-Fi Up to 54 Mbps
WiMAX Up to 70 Mbps
IMT-Advanced Up to 100 Mbps in high-mobility and 1 Gbps in low-mobility
  1. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Getting Broadband 
  2. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Six Broadband Deployment Report (2010) 
  3. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Broadband Commission for Digital Development. Broadband Targets for 2015 (2011)
  4. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ICT Regulation Toolkit (2011)
  5. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Measuring the Information Society (2011)
  6. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) The Birth of Broadband (2003)
  7. International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2010/2011: Enabling Tomorrow’s Digital World (International Telecommunications Union, Switzerland, 2011)

Deadlock is TDR's way of describing a point in the complaint process when:

  • a consumer has come to the end of their telecommunications company's complaint process and their complaint has not been resolved, or
  • it has been six weeks or more since the customer first contacted the company and they still don’t have a resolution they are happy with.

When a consumer gets to this point with their telecommunications company, they can ask the company for a reference number. This might be called a complaint number, a deadlock number, or a reference number.

TDR does not deal with complaints about pricing, network coverage, 111 calls, Yellow Pages advertisements, business and government accounts. For a full description of what is, and isn’t, covered please see the Types of Disputes Covered. You must make your complaint to us within 12 months of when you first discovered the event or issue giving rise to the complaint. If you make your complaint to us after 12 months, we will be unable to consider it.

Determination information and Adjudicator decisions can be found here

The consumer representatives are:

  • David Russell (also the Chair)
  • Alexandra Sims
  • Craig Young
  • Paul Elenio

David Russell, Alexandra Sims and Craig Young were appointed as consumer representatives by a selection panel from the Consumer NZ and the Telecommunication Users' Association of New Zealand (TUANZ). Paul Elenio was appointed by Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (MBIE).