TDR can assist customers who have complaints related to service faults or faulty equipment received from a TDR Scheme Member.
Types of complaints about faulty services and equipment
We commonly see, but are not limited to, complaints about faulty services and equipment such as:
- Coverage or data transfer speeds that don’t match what was promoted or promised
- Delays fixing a fault with a service or a piece of equipment bundled with a service
- Recurring service faults
- Missed technician appointments.
Moisture/water damaged phones, or other faulty equipment provided by the Scheme Member.
Scheme Member obligations
Scheme Members have obligations and duties in relation to both suppling a service and/or equipment to customers, both under the general law that applies in New Zealand, and also under industry codes.
The general law includes the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993, Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017.
Industry codes that apply include the Customer Complaints Code and any relevant Retail Service Quality Code.
TDR’s view of the issue
There are various broad legal considerations which TDR will consider. These relate to the protection afforded to the customer either by warranty, or under laws such as the Fair Trading Act 1986 or Consumer Guarantees Act 1993.
The warranty will typically set out a fixed period which the Consumer will have the protections of having the manufacturer or seller standing behind the product. For example, that they will replace or repair a faulty product within a set timeframe. The Consumer Guarantees Act sets out a range of protections which will automatically apply when goods are sold to consumers. These include a requirement that the product (such as a phone) be of an acceptable quality and fit for purpose. TDR will consider any evidence available which provides an indication as to how the mobile phone or other equipment had been treated by the customer, in determining whether it was of acceptable quality, and fit for purpose.
TDR notes that a seller's warranty will not replace the protections available under the Consumer Guarantees Act. However, TDR recognises that a seller and business customer can contract out of the Consumer Guarantees Act protections.
With regard to water-damaged mobile phones, TDR does not consider that a mobile phone treated with reasonable care should experience difficulties with moisture. However, TDR accepts that mobiles have varying degrees of water resistance based on their IP (Ingress Protection) rating. As such, no handset is guaranteed to be 100% moisture or water proof.
TDR does not consider it possible to determine with precision what life span should be expected from a mobile phone. Such consideration would depend on the build quality of the product, and how that phone was treated. TDR will also take into consideration the term of any fixed term contract under which the mobile phone was supplied.
TDR recognises that customers can connect their phone and access the internet using different services. Those include, dial-up, ADSL/VDSL Fibre, cable, wireless or via a mobile connection (4G, 5G etc). TDR accepts that those different services will result in different potential speeds, connection quality and customer experience. Also, some Scheme Members allow the customer to elect different speeds in selecting the product which they contract for.
TDR accepts that a customer's internet speed is affected by a range of variables, such as:
- Connection technology and service quality
- The number of, and type of, other services being used over the same cable by other customers
- The configuration and line quality of the copper wire between the exchange and the customer's premises/residence
- Electrical interference from outside sources, e.g. electric motors and electric fences
- The customer's hardware/equipment
- The software configuration and application on the customer's computer, in particular how it uses the uplink back to the exchange
TDR notes it is uncommon for a Scheme Member to make any particular undertaking as to internet speed which a customer is likely to receive. The usual position is that the service provided will be a 'best efforts' service. TDR acknowledges that such a situation is in large measure a consequence of the variables noted above.
Generally, TDR is not able to consider any complaints relating to internet speed or congestion, as they are expressly excluded from the scope of the Customer Complaints Code.
However, TDR may be able to consider a complaint relating to a broadband service if it is within the following situations:
- When the Scheme Member made an undertaking to the customer or marketed their product as having a particular minimum speed.
- When the complaint relates to a customer being unable to establish a reliable Internet connection. TDR considers that irrespective of the actual speed received, the customer should be able to establish a reasonably reliable Internet connection.
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 faulty equipment or services we will ask the Customer and Scheme Member to provide their understanding of the issues involved, correspondence or documentation to support their positions.
We may also ask for equipment specifications, clarification of contracted terms of service, an example of what was advertised at the time of purchase and what remedies, if any, have been attempted to date.
TDR may order a refund or a reduction in the price of the service may be awarded. The Customer may also be released from any contractual term to allow them to find an alternative service provider.
If equipment is found to be faulty TDR may order the device repaired, replaced, or refunded.