The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman will launch a dedicated team to assist small businesses in addressing complaints. The team will go live on April 1, 2019.
The team was launched in response to the marked increase in complaints from small business owners to the ombudsman over the past two years.
“Small businesses are relying more than ever before on phone and internet services to be accessible, be informed, and to do business,” ombudsman Judi Jones said.
“It is critical they are able to rely on the phone and internet services they sign up for, and to have access to a free, independent, and effective complaint resolution service when their complaint is unresolved.”
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has welcomed the announcement, saying it will give small businesses owners better access to redress complaints.
“Connectivity is key to a business’ success. With 95 per cent of small businesses online, a disruption or complete lack of connection can affect their sales, marketing, ordering and invoicing processes.
“It’s not acceptable for small businesses to lose customers due to problems with phone or internet connections, which is why this new small business team within TIO is needed.”
Carnell has seen first-hand the impact issues with telecommunications can have on a small business owner and the wider community.
“We recently helped a Canberra-based chemist whose phone line had been disconnected for 59 days. The telecommunications provider had cut the lines while redirecting to the NBN. The chemist then had their fax line disconnected which caused, among other issues, critical concerns regarding doctors being unable to fax prescriptions for palliative care medication.
“Once my Assistance team stepped in, the telecommunications provider reconnected both the phone and fax lines,” Carnell said.