Telco ombudsman settles Exetel court stoush

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Telco ombudsman settles Exetel court stoush
John Linton from Exetel.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman will conduct a three-month trial of a new complaints handling process as part of a mediated settlement with service provider Exetel.

The TIO said today the trial would involve "a new process for consumers who have been unable to speak with their service provider, to ensure service providers are more aware of complaints made against them in those circumstances".

It would include a focus on particular complaints, such as users unable to reach their service provider or situations in which the complainant was kept waiting.

"During the trial, complainants will continue to be referred to a senior point of contact with the [ISP] to have their complaints dealt with," the companies said in a joint statement.

A spokesman for the TIO said details of the trial, including the number of ISPs it would apply to, were still being worked out.

The trial came after Exetel lodged Federal Court proceedings against the TIO last year alleging, among other things, that the Ombudsman did not provide ISPs with "reasonable time" to respond to complaints.

The case had centred on 114 complaints logged with the TIO.

Exetel chief executive, John Linton, had called the case "pointless expensive" but necessary to reach an agreement with the body.

The ISP had sought compensation for cases it accused the Ombudsman of misclassifying.

Today's breakthrough - achieved through mediation begun this week - meant the case had been dropped, without money changing hands.

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