Exetel, has threatened the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) with legal action after the internet service provider (ISP) refuted 300 of the 306 complaints lodged against it last year.
Chief executive officer, John Linton, accused the TIO of breaching its constitution by issuing false complaints against Exetel.
The TIO handles complaints between telecommunications providers and their customers. Providers have 10 days to resolve disputes directly with their customers. If it can’t be resolved, the issue is escalated to a ‘level two’ complaint. The TIO may also raise complaints directly to level two if it is satisfied that the member has had sufficient opportunity to resolve it informally.
Linton maintains the ISP was not involved in some of the complaints which were registered against Exetel. In a post on his blog, he argued there were many other complaints where Exetel could not possibly be involved.
“We began to find increasing incidences where a level one complaint had barely been registered before it became a — often on the same day,” Linton said.
A letter of demand sent by Exetel to the TIO was “cursorily rebuffed”, according to Linton. He said the TIO has less than 21 days to respond before the ISP will take legal action.
In response, the TIO asked for each of the 300 submissions to be individually sent to its offices, but Linton has refused, saying the TIO did not allocate the required 10 days for the resolution of level one complaints.
Linton said the TIO must either acknowledge or refuse the allegations of complaint mishandling and, by extension, either rule out or accept Exetel’s claims that the 300 complaints were illegitimate.
“We can... simply add the costs of [complaints] to our planned OPEX and forget about it... or we can produce irrefutable evidence that the TIO is in breach of at least three of its constitutional requirements and allow the Federal court to rule on those contentions and what has to be done should our evidence be accepted,” Linton wrote in his blog.
He referred Computerworld questions to Exetel’s legal counsel.
TIO spokesman, John Dubois, said the agency would not comment on legal matters.