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02.TIO and FOS Side by Side


1300 78 08 08 |


1800 06 20 58 |

disputes in 2011-12
up 19% from 2010-11

An FSP has 45 days to resolve a dispute brought by a customer, or by the FOS on behalf of a customer, before the FOS will consider officially taking on a case.

complaints in 2010-11,
up about 18% from 2009-2010

52,231 complaints were received between January-March 2012, almost two-thirds of which were about mobile phone services.

Funded by

12,853 financial services providers (FSPs) who are FOS members. ASIC requires that all FSPs have an external dispute resolution process, although not all are FOS members.

Funded by

1214 telcos. All businesses that provide or re-sell telecommunications services to consumers or small businesses are legally required to join the TIO. Providers are charged by the TIO per complaint if it investigates.

Call them for disputes about

  • Credit cards or loans
  • Insurance claims
  • Banks, credit unions and building societies
  • Financial planners/investment managers
  • EFTPOS, foreign currency transfers, loyalty programs, gift cards

Call them for disputes about

  • Landlines
  • Mobiles
  • Internet services

Don't call them about

  • Level of a fee, premium, charge or interest rate unless it's incorrectly applied or inadequately disclosed
  • Methods used to assess credit risk or the amount of security required for a loan
  • How insurance premiums are determined or the premium amount
  • Investment performance unless there is an issue of nondisclosure or misinformation
  • Super fund management

Don’t call them about

  • Equipment supplied by a telco
  • Cabling beyond the network termination point except to the first telephone
  • Commercial activity by telcos outside of connection services
  • Tariffs and rates
  • Anti-competitive behaviour or restrictive practices that may breach the Competition and Consumer Act
  • Content provided by a telco
  • Matters that are or have been under consideration by ACMA, the ACCC or any court or tribunal

Report card

  • 3012 of the 28,826 resolved disputes in 2010-11 (out of 36,095 received) required an FOS decision. Those remaining were worked out between the customer and provider
  • 1170 decisions were in favour of customers, 1529 favoured the FSP (in 313 cases the FOS approved an FSP's offer to customers)

Report card

  • 177,047 of the 2010-11 complaints were resolved by mutual consent between the provider and customer after the TIO was contacted
  • 17,863 required the TIO to conciliate a resolution
  • 2772 were considered for a binding decision or direction by the TIO
  • 39,928 enquiries required the TIO to direct the customer to contact the telco in the first instance or the issue was outside the TIO's jurisdiction

Dispute deadlines

  • For issues that fall under the National Credit Code, customers have two years from the end of the credit contract or the end of any internal dispute resolution process with the provider to complain to the FOS
  • For other issues, consumers have six years from when they became aware of the issue, or two years from the end of any internal dispute resolution process with the provider

Dispute deadlines

  • Customers have one year from the time they become aware of the issue to make a complaint, though the timeframe may be extended to two years in some cases
  • The TIO will allow 10 working days for the telco to respond to the dispute before it becomes formally involved


  • As a first step toward resolution, the FOS makes a recommendation that is binding if both parties agree to it within 30 days
  • If the FSP doesn't agree but the customer does, the FOS can make a determination that is binding. If the customer doesn’t agree, they can take the matter to court


  • There are four complaint levels: at level three the TIO can make binding decisions for up to $1200
  • For level four complaints made since July 2012, the TIO has the power to make binding decisions up to $50,000 and recommendations up to $100,000
  • For level four complaints made before July 2012, the limits are $30,000 for binding decisions and $85,000 for recommendations

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