Unauthorised telecommunications transfers on the rise

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Telecommunication Dispute Resolution service (TDR) received 66 calls regarding unauthorised transfers in the 12 months to March 2010, compared with only 30 in the previous year.

TDR Council chairman, consumer advocate David Russell, is extremely concerned at the practices of some companies.  He encourages customers to be particularly careful if they’re contacted by a telecommunication company offering better deals than their current provider. 

Of particular concern, it appears that many of the customers being targeted are elderly.

“If the customer says they might be interested in transferring, some companies are taking this as an authorisation.  In no time at all the customer has been moved to the new telecommunications company” he said.  “In some cases it appears transfers have been undertaken when the customer merely said they’d think about the offer or, worse, actually said no.”

If the customer later wishes to move back to their original provider, they can be hit with reconnection fees. 

TDR can only deal with complaints from customers whose telecommunications company is a member of the Scheme.  Companies currently signed up to TDR account for more than 90% of the total residential and small business telecommunication consumer market.

Mr Russell points out, however, that calls on this issue do often relate to companies outside the Scheme.

TDR is a free, independent service for residential and small business consumers who are unable to resolve a complaint with their telecommunication company. 

You can contact TDR through the website TDR.org.nz, or freephone 0508 98 98 98.