The customer lodged a complaint with TDR saying that he had been trying to pay his provider’s bill but they would only accept account payments with a certain type of card. He had also tried to pay his bill in cash, but his provider had not given him a way to do this. He found it very stressful.

The customer said he was concerned that his provider did not offer sufficient ways of accepting payment as their software does not accept all cards. He believes that his provider is forcing him to agree to terms where accounts can only be paid by credit cards or Prezzy cards without mentioning that some of these will work and some won’t, and that this is not lawful. He had been told that the card he attempted to make a payment with was invalid and was told that the provider does not accept cash payments.

TDR’s first step allows providers to work directly with the customer to resolve the complaint. The provider said that they support debit and credit cards from most major New Zealand banks as well as an Eftpos payment option via a mobile app. The provider confirmed that they do not have any cash handling facilities and that their processes are set up to deal with nominated credit or debit card for monthly payments.

The matter remained unresolved so the case reached deadlock and a TDR practitioner was appointed.  The practitioner was unable to speak with the customer as he did not provide a telephone number, nor did he reply to emails that were sent to him explaining the mediation/adjudication process and inviting him to either call or respond by email.

The practitioner checked with the provider to find out how the customer had initially signed up for the service and was advised that the credit card used was acceptable but had been declined more recently due to insufficient funds.

The practitioner also checked the terms and conditions of the provider’s service and was satisfied that the customer knew, or ought to have known, at the time of sign up that the provider offered specific payment arrangements.

At the time of investigating this complaint the practitioner was also made aware that there were no fees owing and the customer was continuing to use the provider’s services.

The practitioner had no way of pursuing a mediated settlement and the matter proceeded to an adjudication. The practitioner found that there was nothing unlawful in the terms and conditions of the service and the complaint was not upheld.