TDR can assist with complaints and issues that occur when transferring services or porting numbers between Scheme Members.
Types of transfer complaints
We deal with complaints about transferring services or numbers such as:
- Customers transferred from one service provider to another without permission by the account holder (unauthorised transfer is often referred to as “slamming”)
- Transfers that are taking too long
- Inability to port (transfer to another provider) a number
- Numbers lost mid-transfer.
Scheme Member obligations
There are two industry codes that set out the rules for transferring customers between service providers. The goal of the codes is to ensure that transfers happen smoothly, quickly, and that the customer has freedom of choice.
It is the responsibility of the new service provider (also known as the gaining service provider) to make sure it has a customer’s authority to go ahead with the transfer. The existing service provider (also known as the losing service provider) may not contact the customer, unless very specific circumstances apply (e.g., to tell them the other services included in the customer’s account will no longer operate).
Relevant codes and legislation that may apply to Scheme Members include:
TDR’s view of the issue
Scheme Members must get the customer’s consent for a transfer to occur. Our view is that the gaining Scheme Member must be sure that the customer wants to transfer their service or number. This is referred to in the codes as an ‘end customer authorisation’.
The new provider must be able to provide a copy of an end customer authorisation to prove authority was provided. The losing service provider may not contact the customer unless it becomes aware that particular remaining services will fail if the transfer proceeds or to inform the customer of any commercial implications under their terms and conditions of their existing contracts.
Dealing with the complaint
When we deal with complaints about transfers, we consider the law, relevant applicable codes, and fairness in all the circumstances.
If both the losing and gaining providers are both TDR retail Scheme Members, we may involve both providers to help resolve the issue. We may also ask for information from both the customer and the Scheme Member/s. This may include but is not limited to:
- Customer contact records
- Raw call data
- Account authorisation notes.
What should customers think about if they want to change providers?
It is important to ask questions. If you talk to a service provider, you should be clear about what the next steps are — even if it is to just that you want to think about the offer a company may have.
Ask your current provider:
- When does my contract end?
- Is there a fee for breaking my contract? If so, what is the fee?
- Will I lose any other services (e.g. subscription to a streaming service, email address, power or mobile services) on my account if I break my contract? If so, what are they? Am I able to continue with those services, and if so, how much will it cost?
Ask the new provider:
- How long is the contract for?
- Is there a fee for breaking the contract?
- What is the best plan for me to suit my needs and how much does it cost?
- What are the payment options?
- Can I keep my existing landline or mobile number and email address?
If you have decided to move to a new service provider you will be required to provide your authorisation, only the named account holder can provide this. Authorisation can be given via phone, internet, email or signature on a contract.
If there are any issues and you think you have been transferred to a new service provider without your consent, you should contact the new service provider as soon as possible and be clear that you did not authorise the transfer. If you experience any issues progressing this instruction, contact TDR.
If a customer complains that they did not provide authorisation to transfer their services both the losing and the gaining service provider must enact the transfer reversal process as set out in the relevant codes and/or law.
Individual outcomes may include invoices being reissued to take into account delays or charges and fees being waived if a transfer was not correctly initiated.