When to File a Complaint
While the TIO has substantial powers across the entire industry, it’s actually the last thing you should try if you’re unhappy with the speed or quality of your connection. If you’re not happy with the service or are having technical issues that need to be fixed, the first point of contact is still the NBN service provider you’re signed up with. They need to be given an opportunity to resolve the problem first – since the TIO won’t get involved until your dealings with your provider reach a roadblock. That can be, for example, the classic situation where a provider blames the NBN for slow speeds, but the NBN blames the provider – and nothing gets fixed.
At that point, you can get in touch with the TIO and make a complaint. The best way to do this is via their website, if you can – that gives you a chance to clearly outline the issues you’re having, and follow the progress of the complaint as the TIO investigates it.
Before you take this step, though, let your provider know that you’re about to do so. A complaint to the TIO involves some financial cost to the provider and they’d rather things not escalate that far – and sometimes politely letting them know you’re going to take your complaint to the TIO is enough to spur them into action.
Otherwise, though, the TIO will talk to the provider on your behalf and try to come to an acceptable solution. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that your slow-speed woes will automatically go away. It also doesn’t automatically mean the TIO will agree that your broadband speed is too slow – for example, if you’re on a Fibre to the Node connection and the node box is a long distance from your home, there’ll be limits on what speed you can possibly achieve with that connection that no amount of complaining will be able to fix.
But if you, say, signed up for a plan with 100 Mbps speed and the provider didn’t tell you that you’d never be able to achieve it – but won’t let you out of your contract so you can choose a more suitable NBN plan – that’s where the TIO can step in to help.