TDR Launch Press Release

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A copy of the press release can be downloaded below.

New Dispute Service Launched for Telecommunication Consumers

A new consumer dispute resolution process is available for customers of New Zealand’s telecommunication and ISP companies from Friday.

Telecommunication Dispute Resolution (TDR) is an independent service for residential and small business consumers to use if they are unable to resolve a complaint with their telecommunication company. The service is endorsed by telecommunications companies accounting for over 98 percent of the New Zealand market.

TDR is a free service, which can be used by any consumer whose telecommunications company is a member of the TDR scheme.

Consumers must have raised their complaint with their telecommunication company first, and given the company a chance to respond. If the consumer is not happy with the outcome or it has taken more than six weeks to resolve, TDR can get involved.

The service has been established by the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) – a collective of telecommunication companies – and leading consumer advocates such as Consumers’ Institute, TUANZ and Citizens Advice Bureaux. The TCF also established a TDR Council, made up of half industry and half consumer representatives, to provide the overall governance of the service. The chairman of the TDR Council is well-known consumer law expert Bill Bevan.

Mr Bevan said TDR was the result of two years of work by the telecommunications companies and consumer representatives, and that the service was designed to be fair to both telecommunications companies and their customers.

”TDR will work with both parties to resolve disputes and is set up to ensure independent decisions – although if consumers don’t agree with the final decision they still have the option of taking their dispute to the Disputes Tribunal. The Scheme members have all agreed to be bound by the decisions made by TDR and have signed up to a Customer Complaints Code, so it will apply equally across the board, which means consumers can have faith in its independence and objectivity.”

Consumers will be able to access the TDR service via phone, fax, email and through its website, Some of the Scheme members will also be supplying TDR information brochures with customers’ billing information, and brochures will also be available through the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux, Community Law Centres, Federation of Budgeting Services, TUANZ and Refugee Resettlement Services.

TCF independent chairperson Malcolm Alexander said TDR was another success for the TCF members, who have worked positively and constructively with consumer stakeholders. Together the parties have designed a scheme that has been able to secure the support of both consumers and the industry, he said.

The TDR service is being offered through a specialist dispute resolution company, Dispute Resolution Services (DRS). DRS is an award-winning, nationwide company, which has been operating since 1999.

The following files are available for downloading: