A comparative study of the communications consumer dispute resolution schemes in the UK and Australia

Lexis Nexis Butterworths
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Media and Arts Law Review, 2014, 19 pp. 151 - 168
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In Australia, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (`TIO) is a private corporation acting as the sole alternate dispute resolution mediator between carriage service providers (`CSPs) and consumers. Currently, the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) requires all CSPs to become members of the TIO scheme in Australia. In the United Kingdom, the communications consumer dispute resolution scheme comprises two organisations: the Ombudsman Services (`OS) and the Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (`CISAS). The Communications Act 2003 (UK) requires all the communications providers (`CPs) to join either of these two schemes. This paper studies these three similar but different redress schemes. In doing so, the author of this paper conducted a literature research of these three schemes based on publically available information. In addition, interviews with both the OS and the CISAS were carried out to access further information. In conclusion, this paper finds that the scope of the TIO is unnecessarily wider than the scope of the UK schemes, which contributed significantly to the high volume of complaints received by the TIO in recent years. It is therefore critical for the TIO to reconsider its scope of operation in view of limiting it. Otherwise, not only the industry development and the consumer welfare might be hindered, the TIO scheme would be overburdened in the long run.
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