TDR can assist with complaints about your contract with a Scheme Member and/or their Terms & Conditions related to your service.
Types of contract and Terms & Conditions complaints
Complaints could include:
- a customer was not provided with, or shown how to access, the relevant Terms and Conditions
- variations of Terms and Conditions after signing up with a provider
- a customer did not have capacity to enter, or realise they were entering into, a contract
- services provided to minors
- the customer is held to Terms and Conditions that they believe are unfair
- customers having to provide a fixed amount of notice to end a contract.
Scheme Member obligations
Scheme Members have obligations and duties in relation to contracts, both under the general law that applies in New Zealand, and industry codes.
Industry codes that apply include the Customer Complaints Code.
In broad summary, Scheme Members will be required to be clear in their communications around what they are offering, and the Terms and Conditions that will apply around services provided. Any Terms and Conditions must be lawful.
TDR’s view of the issue
The Customer Complaints Code requires a Scheme Member’s Terms and Conditions be accurate, up-to-date and in plain English. They should clearly set out the key rights and obligations of both the Scheme Member and the customer and be easy for customers to obtain or access.
Any variations should follow the steps set out within the Scheme Members Terms and Conditions with customers receiving a minimum of 10 working days’ notice. This includes when a customer’s billing, or services, will be affected by the end of a contract term.
Any contract terms must comply with the general legal obligations arising in New Zealand, such as those obligations found in the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.
Dealing with the complaint
TDR will consider the law, relevant applicable Codes, and fairness in all the circumstances. Each enquiry and complaint will be considered on its individual merits.
When considering a complaint about contracts or Terms and Conditions we will ask the Customer and Scheme Member to provide their understanding of the issues involved, correspondence or documentation to support their positions and what has been done to date to attempt resolution of the complaint.
If a Scheme Member has not followed the relevant Codes and law related to contracts and Terms and Conditions, the outcome will differ depending on the complaint. The Scheme Member may be required to provide the customer with a copy of their Terms and Conditions as well as review Customer accessibility to the document.
If we determine that the Scheme Members notice of variation is insufficient compared to the applicable Code, we would require the scheme member to provide this notice to the Customer. Charges, or price increase caused by the variation, may be credited or removed until after the required period occurs.
If a term or condition is determined to be unfair by TDR we may decide that the term or condition is not applicable in the circumstances.