Complaints about phone companies and utilities
What if I have a problem with a telephone or internet service?
If the complaint is about your phone or internet connection not working, your first step will normally be to contact:
- the store or company that sold you the item - if the fault is with the actual phone, modem or router itself, or
- the service or network provider - if the issue is with problems connecting, coverage or network faults.
If you have problems with your bill, contract, or being overcharged, you should also try to resolve your complaint directly with the service provider.
If you cannot resolve the issue directly, you can make a complaint about your phone or internet service to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. Your complaint should be lodged within two years of when you first became aware of the problem. This time may be extended to six years in some circumstances.
You may also have rights as a consumer under Australian Consumer Law if you have problems with goods or services.
What if I have a complaint about a utilities provider in WA?
If you have a problem about your water, electricity or gas account, you should contact the company that provides that service. Utility companies have internal complaint resolution procedures that may help resolve your complaint.
If you remain dissatisfied after contacting your service provider, you may complain to the Energy and Water Ombudsman WA. Complaints can be made in person, in writing, online or by calling (08) 9220 7588 or 1800 754 004.
If you have not previously raised the issue directly with the utility service provider, the Energy and Water Ombudsman will decide whether to investigate or direct you back to the service provider.
Complaints to the Energy and Water Ombudsman must normally be made within 12 months of when you first became aware of the problem.
If you are having trouble paying a water, gas or electricity bill because of financial hardship, you may be able to access the WA Government Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme. Consider getting help from a financial counsellor if you cannot pay your bills.
Phone and internet services
Australian Communications Consumer Action Network - Consumer resources
ACCAN is Australia’s peak communications consumer organisation. Publications cover consumer rights for phone and internet users, how to make complaints, and tips for using services and seeking compensation.
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Call the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502.For help or referral to resolve a complaint with a business, or if you think a business may be breaking consumer protection or fair trading laws.
- ASIC's MoneySmart
Information on getting the right mobile plan for your needs.
- Australian Communications and Media Authority
A government agency responsible for the regulation of broadcasting, the internet, radio communications and telecommunications. Its website has information on making complaints about internet services and payphone and reporting spam, and your rights as a telecommunications customer.
- Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code
A code of conduct designed to ensure good service and fair outcomes for all consumers in Australia. All carriage service providers who supply telecommunications products to customers in Australia are required to comply with the code. It covers sales and service, billing, provision and management of credit, changing supplies and complaint handling. The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code – information for consumers brochure provides an overview of the TCP Code and the protections it provides.
Electricity, water and gas services
Department of Communities - Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme
Information about eligibility for the Scheme, how to apply, and how much a grant can cover.
- The National Debt Helpline Call 1800 007 007
- Economic Regulation Authority - Code of Conduct for the Supply of Electricity to Small Use Customers
The Code of Conduct regulates and controls the conduct of retailers, distributors and electricity marketing agents who supply electricity to residential and small business customers. It includes a part on payment difficulties and financial hardship.
Reviewed: 13 October 2022