Important things you need to know

This Complaint Handling Policy aims to:

What is a complaint?

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction made to us in relation to our telecommunications products or the complaints handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected by the Consumer.

An initial call to us to request a service or information or to request support is not necessarily a complaint.

An initial call to report a fault or service difficulty is not a complaint.

However, if a Customer advises that they want this initial call treated as a complaint, we will treat it as a complaint. If we are uncertain, we will ask a customer if they wish to make a complaint and we will rely on the customer’s response.What is an urgent complaint?

An Urgent Complaint is where:

(a) the complaint is made by a customer who has applied for or has been accepted as being in Financial Hardship under our Financial Hardship policy and where the subject matter of the complaint can reasonably be presumed to directly contribute to or aggravate the Financial Hardship of that customer; or

(b) disconnection of a service is imminent or has occurred and where due process has not been followed; or The TCP Code states urgent complaints can also involve a Priority Assistance Customer and the service for which they are receiving Priority Assistance. Southern Phone does not provide Priority Assistance services.

When can a complaint be made?

A complaint is can be made at any time using one of the methods outlined below. Contact by phone should be during standard business hours.

Lodgement of complaints

Customers and former customers have a right to make a complaint and any proposed resolution must be accepted by the complainant before we are required to implement it.

We will resolve complaints in an objective, efficient and fair manner. Complaints may be lodged:

Southern Phone Company's complaint handling process is free of charge other than call costs incurred in contacting us. We may charge to supply information collected by us more than two years prior to the date of a request unless the complaint relates to the Privacy Act.

We will endeavour to assist complainants with disabilities, those suffering hardships and those from non-English speaking backgrounds. An authorised representative or an advocate may make a complaint on behalf of a complainant.

Acknowledgement of complaints

We will acknowledge a complaint:

(a) immediately where the Complaint is made in person or by telephone;

(b) within 2 Working Days of receipt where the Complaint is made by email, through our website, by post or by telephone where a message is recorded without direct contact with a member of our staff.

What if my complaint requires priority consideration?

We deal with the majority of complaints in the order they are received. There are certain types of complaints which we treat as a priority and we will work to resolved them within two working days. These are usually complaints where life is endangered by the cause of the complaint when a customer has lost service, or we become aware that their service may become lost, for an unknown or unusual reason. If you feel your complaint requires priority for any other reason, please speak with a Customer Service representative who will do their utmost to assist.

Frivolous Complaints

If after careful consideration and appropriate internal escalation we conclude a complaint is frivolous or vexatious and we can do nothing more to assist the customer and we choose not to deal with the complainant further we will inform the complainant in writing of the reasons and advise the options including contact with the TIO.

We will then not accept any further complaints from the customer on the same or similar issues other than in the course of an external dispute resolution process.

Response to complaints

We will attempt to resolve complaints in an objective, efficient and fair manner. Where possible we will seek to resolve a complaint on first contact.

Where a complaint is identified as an Urgent Complaint we will seek to resolve the complaint within two working days of receiving the complaint.

Otherwise we will seek to resolve a complaint within 15 working days of receiving the complaint.

If we are unable to resolve a complaint within the timeframe specified above we will advise the complainant of the situation including the reasons for the delay and the timeframe for completion of the resolution. If the anticipated delay is greater than 10 working days and is not the result of a declared mass service disruption we will advise the complainant of their options for extenal dispute resolution, including the TIO.

We will advise complainants of the resolution of their complaint as soon as practicable after we complete our investigation of the complaint.

We will complete all neccessary actions to deliver the resolution offered to the complainant within 10 working days of the complainant's acceptance of that resolution unless otherwise agreed with the complainant or the actions are contingent on actions of the complainant that have not been completed.

When a complaint is closed we will send a confirmation of the resolution to the complainant within five working days if the complainant requests.

If a complainant is not satisfied with the timeframes we outline for the management of the complaint or if they seek to have the complaint classified as urgent and we disagree we will advise the complainant of our internal prioritisation and escalation processes. If the complainant is still dissatisfied they may contact the TIO.

If we cannot contact a complainant to discuss the complaint or advise them of a proposed resolution we will write to the complainant at the last known address stating we were unable to contact them, detail our attempts to contact and inviting them to contact us within 10 working days. If no contact is made the complaint will be closed.

How can you monitor your complaint?

You can contact us to check the progress of your complaint. Your account number is the means by which we will track your complaint and retrive information for you.

External escalation of complaints

There are external channels for escalation if you are dissatisfied with the way your complaint is handled or the proposed resolution we put forward. The TIO can be contacted on 1800 062 058 (Free from landlines, standard rates apply for calls from mobiles)

Records / systems

Complaints will be recorded and analysed to ensure that our Complaint Management processes comply with this policy. Systemic trends and recurring problems will be identified to improve current processes.

Review of complaint handling process

Southern Phone's complaint handling procedures and systems are periodically reviewed to ensure optimum effectiveness and highlight any need for improvement.

This policy has been developed by Southern Phone in accordance with the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code.