Following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platform Services inquiry in 2019, and the Treasury’s recent follow-up consultation the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) placed a submission late February 2023 to expand their remit from telecommunications to digital platform services (e.g. search engines, apps).
The TIO has supported the proposal for a Digital Platforms Ombudsman since the ACCC’s 2019 Inquiry and are already fielding complaints about digital platform providers, which they cannot currently assist with, due to public conception of the TIO and the convergence of communication, telecommunication, and digital platforms.
The TIO Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert had this to say:
“In recent years, we’ve seen rapid developments in technology, regulation, and consumer expectations, and a general transition towards smartphones and other devices.”
“This convergence of telecommunications and digital platforms means people now make calls and send texts through phone apps like Whatsapp and Messenger, they do business through social media platforms like Instagram, and advertise on Google.”
“My office is already hearing about problems with digital platform services from people and small businesses who assume we are the right body to respond to these complaints.”
“The TIO is ready to expand its remit to take complaints about digital platforms, either through a pilot or as a permanent part of our jurisdiction.”
“We have the expertise to help consumers and the digital platforms find resolution with complaints and highlight systemic improvements that can create meaningful change.”
The TIO’s article and submission can be found here.